Several Chinese cities have introduced slight relaxations of their stringent anti-Coronavirus measures.
Extremely strict lockdowns are still in place in the vast majority of the country, but the population is beginning to object more and more vociferously.
One of the relaxations now introduced is that people no longer have to present a negative PCR test before using public transport or accessing a park in Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai.
The tests will still be necessary for those who want to enter a supermarket, restaurant or mall, if they are open at all.
In the Chinese capital of Beijing, stores are closed, only supermarkets are open. Schools and restaurants there are also closed.
Daily infections drop from 40,000 to 30,000
However, not everyone who tests positive has to be hospitalised there, as many people have mild infections and can thus be quarantined at home.
The easing of the restrictions follows a drop in the number of daily infections to 30,000. At the end of November, there were still 40,000 daily infections in China.
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan noted last week that the prevalent omicron variant is less virulent, that more people have been vaccinated, and that health officials are more experienced with the virus.
Further relaxations in the offing?
Speculation is rife that lockdown measures could be relaxed.
China’s very strict zero-COVID policy, whose standard procedures include mandatory lockdowns, imposed quarantines and mass testing, have led to major protests in the country in recent weeks.
It remains to be seen whether the announced changes will satisfy the protesters.