China Takes Further Steps to Ease Covid Controls; Quarantine Will Likely Be Lifted

China is expected to announce a further easing of Covid control measures as soon as today, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, as the government continues to loosen its zero-Covid policy in the face of growing public outrage.

According to the source, one of the major changes to be announced this week will be a new policy allowing low-risk patients who test positive to quarantine at home rather than being sent to centralized quarantine facilities. The source also noted that PCR testing will be eliminated, except for those at particularly high risk.

Rare protests erupted across China at the end of last month, as people expressed their anger with the zero-Covid policy. The unrest arose as Covid infections increased, prompting more local Covid controls. 

China’s capital Beijing announced that negative Covid tests will no longer be required to enter most public areas, such as supermarkets and commercial buildings, the city government said in a statement on Tuesday, in what is seen as an accelerated exit from the harsh Covid zero policy.

However, the city still demands negative test results to enter Internet cafés, schools, bars, so-called KTV lounges, indoor gyms, and elderly care centers.

Reopening hopes have remained among Chinese investors and Reuters has earlier reported that 10 new Covid easing measures will be announced this week, which has sparked the greatest monthly surge in Hong Kong-listed Chinese stocks in November since 2003.