China to tourists: Share and share alike

The country will also scrap all other restrictive Covid measures for travelers, including quarantines for positive patients and contact tracing.

Authorities said the new policy is part of a new way China plans to manage Covid. China downgraded Covid management to a less-strict “Class B disease,” in the same category as less-severe diseases, such as Dengue fever. China will also call Covid an “infection” instead of “pneumonia.” The change is “more in line with the current characteristics and danger level of this disease,” the National Health Commission said in a statement.

“The less-deadly Omicron variant has become the dominant strain of SARS-Cov-2, and only a very small number of cases developed to pneumonia,” NHC said in a statement Monday.

At the same time, China is grappling with an unprecedented wave of infections that has severely strained its hospitals and emptied pharmacy shelves. Since the world’s second largest economy drastically eased its Covid restrictions, there has been no clear data on the extent of the virus’ spread on the national level. But several cities and provinces have said they were seeing tens of thousands of new cases per day.

The abrupt change in policy has sparked panic buying of fever and cold medicines, leading to widespread shortages, both at pharmacies and on online shopping platforms. Long lines have become routine outside fever clinics and hospital wards overflowing with patients in the capital Beijing and elsewhere in the country.

China’s top leaders have signaled recently that they would shift focus back to growth next year and have bet on the relaxation of pandemic restrictions to lift the economy.

On a personal level, I’ve always enjoyed China - especially Shanghai which reminds me a lot of home. I had planned on going there last year (plans changed due to obvious reasons) and again this year (plans again changed and, based on recent events there, I am not going to revive them).

China has been around for thousands of years and I guess my waiting another year to return isn’t going to adversely affect them much.



I’m amazed that China swung from one extreme (total lockdown) to the other (let 'er rip).

There is a middle approach of negotiating RNA vaccines and maintaining tracing and reporting of Covid cases.

I would not be surprised to see quarantines for people coming FROM China in order to permit screening for potential new Covid variants that develop there.

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