The public clamour and increasingly aggressive protests against the Zero Covid policy in China may have helped initiate the latest move by the government. China has now inched forward into easing its Covid-19 control measures slowly but surely. It will be focusing on its locality. Most infected persons are now also confined to their residences rather than in state-sanctioned facilities.
The press conference in Beijing about this matter addressed further details on the next steps to shift from its Zero-Covid policy. It is important to note that there are no details relayed regarding the country opening up to foreign travellers. The emphasis of responses was directed only towards steps focused on how these changes in pandemic restrictions will be done domestically.
The most information regarding travellers coming into the country was about Macau’s policy aspirations to bring in more tourists overseas to its casino resorts. The government stood firm in its stance that whoever would like to enter the city of Macau through locations outside of China must still undergo a five-day quarantine at a centralized venue and on top of this would be a three-day “self-management” of health at their home or hotel.
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National Health Commission clarifications on details
Mi Feng, one of the National Health Commission’s spokespersons, responded that when it comes to policies for travel, it aims to prevent “imported cases”. China will still need to see more results and work on further “improvements” on how to have effective arrangements as well as be in sync with its laws and regulations on pandemic restrictions.
There was mention of some optimism when it comes to Macau’s situation during the State Council’s “Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism” update. Infected people that have no symptoms or those with mild infections would be allowed to quarantine at home for seven days rather than undergo quarantine at a “centralised” facility. This only covers those who are on the mainland coverage.
There is still the risk of undergoing the pay-as-you-go quarantine either inbound to Macau or from a “high-risk” area of the mainland. The same is true on the mainland when outbound from Macau. This arrangement has had consistent feedback from investment analysts that it can prevent mainlander tourism to Macau.
Another detail that was verified was that of China’s latest control guidelines “high risk” zones for Covid-19 transmission would be designated at a much smaller level. This can be listed as individual buildings, floors or units, instead of having a district-wide or city-wide coverage like it was practised in the past.
Elsie Ao Leong U — Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture — did add clarification that Macau follows mainland standards. In this light, there will also be a possibility of Macau easing steps in Covid-19 restrictions as well as mirroring China’s terms of specifics which are applied over the border.
Li Bin, Deputy head of the National Health Commission, indicated that the latest version of guidelines was revised to be an improvement of previous ones and that these will be focusing more on the “targeted” address and how close contacts should be treated moving forward. The “risk areas” should not “arbitrarily expand” to whole residential areas, communities, and streets. These Identified “high-risk” areas will also come out of lockdown in five days if no new cases are found.
Furthermore, there will be a reduction in nucleic acid test negative certificate requirements or digitally-issued health codes would need to be checked. There is also a strong drive to pick up the pace of vaccination of elderly people to further gain good ground on infection prevention.
Notably, the Macau government announced on Friday that there will be relaxed Covid-19 testing requirements for front-line casino staff. This will be in intervals of every three days instead of the past at every two days.
It has been tough for the folks in China. Hopefully, this initial step by the government will smoothly continue to improve how Covid-19 restrictions are carried out. Any insight or feedback on this recent development? Just let us know in the comment section down below. Feel free to also give suggestions on topics that you’d like us to feature, we’ll gladly accommodate this. Thanks!