Is China Starting To Unwind Zero COVID?
If the media reports are correct, there may actually be an early indication that China is finally starting to relax its Zero COVID protocols.
Presumably, portions of the Chinese government are seeking or perhaps even preparing for the ending of China’s “circuit-breaker” policy for airlines, where airlines risked being temporarily banned from certain routes if COVID patients entered China through one of their flights.
The State Council, which oversees China’s bureaucracy, recently asked government agencies including the civil aviation regulator to prepare for ending the so-called circuit-breaker mechanism, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is sensitive. The system sees airlines banned temporarily from specific routes into China for one-to-two weeks, depending on how many Covid-positive passengers they bring in to the country. A similar mechanism for Hong Kong was halted in July.
However, it is not entirely certain these media reports are correct, as the Chinese Foreign Ministry seems unaware of the pending change.
However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that he was not aware of the media report.
China's COVID policies are consistent and clear, Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing.
Should the policy change come to pass, it would be a significant relaxing of China’s harsh Zero COVID protocols, which puts keeping COVID cases under control at the expense of everything else, including the economy.
Is the change in fact coming? Only time will tell us the answer to that question.
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