A partial easing of the world’s toughest COVID-19 curbs sowed confusion across China on Monday, even as global investors cheered the prospects of a broader policy shift in the wake of last month’s historic protests and mounting economic damage.
Three years into the pandemic, China’s zero-tolerance measures, from shuttered borders to frequent lockdowns, contrast sharply with the rest of the world, which has largely decided to live with the virus.
The strict approach has battered the world’s second-largest economy, put mental strain on hundreds of millions and last month prompted the biggest show of public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.
Although the protests largely petered out amid a heavy police presence across major cities, regional authorities have cut back on lockdowns, quarantine rules and testing requirements to varying degrees.
China will also soon announce a nationwide easing of testing requirements, allowing some positive cases and close contacts to isolate at home, people familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.