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Chinese steadfast on covid policies

by The Associated Press | November 6, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
People wearing face masks sit on a bench at a pedestrian shopping street in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING -- Chinese health officials gave no indication Saturday of relaxing covid-19 restrictions, following several days of speculation that the government was considering changes to a "zero-covid" approach that has stymied economic growth and disrupted daily life.

The officials said at a news conference they would "unswervingly" stick to the policy, which seeks to stop cases from coming into the country and snuff out outbreaks as they are uncovered.

There has been no official confirmation of discussions are taking place in private and most analysts believe any change will be gradual with major easing unlikely until sometime next year.

The speculation rallied stock markets in China last week, with investors as well as the public latching onto any hints of possible change. The death of a 3-year-old boy in a quarantined residential compound fueled growing discontent with the anti-virus controls.

Anyone entering China must quarantine at a designated hotel for seven to 10 days. People in the country line up several times a week to get a virus test at outdoor booths to meet a requirement for a negative result within the last 72 hours to enter office buildings, shopping malls, restaurants, parks and other public places.

Tuo Jia, a National Health Commission official, acknowledged complaints in some cities about the zealous enforcement of the zero-covid policy and said that local authorities need to balance epidemic prevention with economic development.

Scattered outbreaks across the country continue to prompt travel restrictions and lockdowns. China reported Saturday identifying about 3,500 new cases the previous day, including about 3,000 who were asymptomatic.

In the city of Guangzhou in the southeast, Haizhu district suspended bus and subway service for three days and urged residents to stay home as it conducts mass testing of its 1.8 million people. One person per household is allowed out each day to shop for necessities.

photo People wearing face masks walk through an outdoor shopping complex in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
photo A woman wearing a face mask sits on a bench at an outdoor shopping complex in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
photo A woman removes a girl's face mask as she plays on a plaza in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
photo A worker wearing a protective suit watches as people line up for COVID-19 tests at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Print Headline: Chinese steadfast on covid policies

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