In Beijing, the capital of China, the local government it started to shut down the thousands of kiosks opened in the last two years to carry out tests for the coronavirus, which during the pandemic have become a symbol of the so-called “zero COVID” strategy adopted by the Chinese government, much contested and which in recent months has caused even very violent protests in several cities in China.
Kiosks are temporary structures with a glass-covered door and two circular holes for the arms of the person testing people who show up. They were needed to get a negative test quickly and then access offices, shops and large indoor facilities. Their closure seems to concern only the city of Beijing for now, which among other things has announced that it will no longer ask for a negative test to be able to access supermarkets. From Monday, the subway can also be taken without a negative test. In other major cities, such as Shenzhen, Chengdu and Tianjin, local governments have already removed the requirement for anyone using public transport or walking in parks to present a negative test.
Further signs appear, together with those observed in recent days at local and national level, of the fact that China is preparing to exit, albeit gradually, its “zero COVID” strategy, which provides for the complete elimination of all outbreaks with heavy lockdowns and restrictions.
All these measures are part of the easing of restrictions that the Chinese government has decided to implement also following the exceptional protests against the lockdowns and restrictions in recent days. The protests have now largely stopped, with few exceptions, and their slowdown has also and above all contributed to the repression of the regime, which has occupied and militarized the meeting places of the demonstrators, to then try to trace and prosecute the people who they had taken to the street. In parallel, the government accepted some requests from the protesters, although it is not clear whether it will definitively abandon the “zero COVID” strategy.