Beijing mulls relaxing quarantine for foreign visitors amid rising caseload
Beijing, May 23 (EFE).- Beijing is mulling whether to relax quarantine requirements for tourists, despite the fact the Chinese capital continues to record a rising Covid-19 caseload.
Beijing surpassed the eastern megacity of Shanghai for the first time Monday with 83 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, compared to the port city’s 55.
The total number of infections since the current outbreak began on April 22 is 1,501, with a rising contagion curve that the central government’s stringent zero covid policy has been unable to contain.
Beijing residents have been dealing with a raft of restrictions, including a negative PCR test, taken within the last seven days, to use public transport. Many restaurants and cafes are requesting negative tests taken within the last 48-hours.
According to the local press, Beijing is weighing relaxing quarantine rules for international visitors to a 7+7 policy, which would mean spending seven days in a hotel and then a further seven days at home. This would reduce the current 10-day hotel stay by three days.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told foreign business delegates at a symposium last week that the government was working to cushion the impact the Omicron-fueled outbreak was having on foreign companies by addressing logistical issues, the resumption of production and the entry of staff to the country, according to state-backed news agency Xinhua.
In Shanghai, the transport service between districts has partially resumed with four out of seven subway lines operating in the morning until eight in the evening. Trains are traveling at 20-minute intervals, a clear indication normalcy is still a long way off in Shanghai.
Some 273 bus routes have also resumed their services to the city’s main hospitals, airports and train stations, where queues of people keen to escape the city after a strict two-month lockdown have formed in the last week.
Only residents who have a negative PCR test conducted in the previous 48 hours will be able to use these services.
The financial hub has even resorted to using robots to conduct tests in a bid to avoid chains of contagion.
The unmanned vehicles can conduct tests in just 30 seconds and they reduce the risk of cross-infection of the crowd during sampling, according to Sense Time, a leading global artificial intelligence company that has been roped in to help manage the current outbreak.EFE