This measure had become unthinkable in the past three years. People in China can now go to work “normally”, even if they show symptoms of Covid-19, authorities said, in a country where a single case could previously lead to the confinement of thousands of people. This spectacular turnaround is part of the about-face made in early December by Beijing, which lifted most of the health restrictions in force for almost three years.
A reopening accompanied by a wave of cases that is sweeping the country, especially in Beijing, where the virus is spreading at lightning speed among the 22 million inhabitants. While some experts fear that China is ill-equipped to deal with this wave of infections, with millions of vulnerable elderly people yet to be vaccinated, authorities are trying to reassure people that the virus is benign despite its contagiousness.