China continues to relax restrictions on COVID-19 amid near-record numbers of daily cases

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File – A sanitation worker in Tengzhou, China. – Song Haicun/SIPA Asia via ZUMA P / DPA

Chinese authorities have in recent hours continued their policy of easing restrictions against the coronavirus pandemic in major cities despite the fact that the country continues to experience near-record numbers of daily cases, with 40,000 cases on average in the last week.

For the time being, the authorities in the capital, Beijing, have cancelled measures requiring the presentation of permits for access to public transport and residents of cities such as Chengdu or Canton no longer have to present a negative coronavirus test for access to most public places.

All shopping malls in Beijing will open their doors this Saturday but will still not serve meals and a negative test will be required to enter the stores.

The capital, recalls the ‘Global Times’, reported on Friday mid-afternoon 1,738 new cases in the last hours, of which 123 were identified in areas outside quarantine.

The official Xinhua news agency went so far as to publish an editorial last Friday calling for the immediate lifting of the remaining measures after warning of the great impact that the «zero COVID» policy declared by the authorities has had on the population.

This dissatisfaction reached a peak last week, when the country became the scene of protests, especially in the Xinjiang region, in the northwest of the country, where ten people died due to the late intervention of the fire department precisely because of the sanitary control measures.