This photo taken on 30 November 2022 shows people inside a subway train in Haizhu district, Guangzhou city, in China's Guangdong province, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the city. (CNS/AFP)

China is finally easing Covid rules, but not all are happy

The Chinese central government has not mentioned the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy as of late, sparking hopes that it will further ease Covid-19 control measures. With public anger boiling over in the form of protests in several cities, more signs of easing are needed. The path to reopening will not be smooth, but Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that any form of progress towards normalcy would be reassuring for the Chinese people.
Renowned virologist Guan Yi. (Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine official website)

A Chinese virologist's changing fortunes for speaking up against zero-Covid

China's renowned virologist Guan Yi has reappeared in public as the newly appointed chief of the Shanghai Virus Research Institute, after being denounced for his alarmist views of the pandemic at the start of its outbreak and speaking against the zero-Covid measures. But now, will his return mark an end to the harsh restrictions that have left the Chinese economy in a dire state?
A policeman (centre) wearing protective clothing reacts in an area where barriers are being placed to close off streets around a locked down neighbourhood after the detection of new Covid-19 cases in Shanghai, China, on 15 March 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

As the virus spreads, can China calm its people and contain the outbreaks?

This month China has seen its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic two years ago. Shanghai, once seen as a role model for fighting the virus, is succumbing under the weight of increasing infections. As such, the “Shanghai model” which allows for a balance of anti-epidemic measures and economic activity has been pushed into the spotlight. Can the Shanghai model still be emulated by other regions of China? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks at the various issues discouraging China from easing its anti-epidemic measures and policy.
A man wearing a mask as a prevention against Covid-19 rides a bicycle on a crossroad, ahead of the annual National People's Congress (NPC), in Shanghai, China, 25 February 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Is China ready to live with the virus?

More than half a year after an infectious diseases expert was shot down for proposing living with the virus, Chinese epidemiologist Zeng Guang has cautiously signalled that perhaps it is time for China to transition away from its dynamic zero-Covid policy. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing reports that Chinese netizens are showing their support for this, voicing their frustration with the prolonged restrictions, while official statistics show a struggling recovery in domestic consumption. Will the benefits of China’s dynamic zero-Covid continue to outweigh its costs?
A man wearing a face mask walks past an advertisement to support medical professionals, following the Covid-19 outbreak, in Hong Kong, China, 24 February 2022. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

The helpless fate of seven million Hong Kongers fighting the pandemic

While the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy may be effective in mainland China, the recent surge in cases in Hong Kong shows that the policy has its limitations, and it does not help that pandemic measures are being politicised. With more than 55,000 new cases reported on 2 March and panic buying amid the possibility of a lockdown, veteran Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao discusses how Hong Kong is caught in a tricky place between Beijing and the rest of the world in terms of which strategy to take.
People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and carrying umbrellas walk on the street during a rainy day in Taipei, Taiwan, 26 November 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Is Taiwan moving towards 'living with the virus'?

Taiwan’s efforts in preventing the spread of Covid-19 has been recognised by the international community. However, the prolonged border restriction is beginning to impact its economy and its people. Is the island ready to move on to its next stage of recovery?
People queue at a mobile specimen collection station for Covid-19 testing in Hong Kong’s Mongkok district on 10 February 2022 as authorities scrambled to ramp up testing capacity following a record high number of new infections. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Has Hong Kong been half-hearted about its 'zero-Covid' policy?

As Covid-19 cases rise in Hong Kong, pandemic efforts are being elevated to a tussle of Asian and Western ideologies. Han Yong Yong suggests that the crux of the issue may not be so much pledging allegiance to one school of thought or the other, but Hong Kong being given the latitude to make adjustments to their Covid-19 policies. In the end, the mainland may benefit more from letting Hong Kong conduct pilot tests at will than to be cruising along on autopilot.
Medical workers in protective suits administer the Covid-19 vaccine at a makeshift vaccination site in Haidian district, Beijing, China, 8 January 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

China's zero-Covid era to end after Chinese New Year?

With the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreading through China in a fresh wave of infections, is China’s current zero-Covid approach still feasible, given that strict measures did not stamp out the less transmissible Delta variant? To safeguard the economy and global supply chains, will a move towards a post-zero-Covid be inevitable, whether China likes it or not? Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong reports.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) poses for a photograph with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during their bilateral meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 9 January 2022. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean: Wang Yi’s visit to Comoros, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s swing through three strategic island states — the Comoros, Maldives, and Sri Lanka — as part of his annual African tour at the beginning of January underlines China’s continuing quest for a larger role in the Indian Ocean. Are China’s economic incentives and themes of non-intervention and sovereign equality resonating with the Indian Ocean littoral at the expense of India and the US?