Covid regulations are changing

Malachi Marquez

People are upset that some Covid-19 restrictions are still in place. Considering it’s been three years since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is understandable that people find these regulations annoying. After all, change doesn’t come easily. But in Western countries, these restrictions have been far less severe than in China.

   China has been trying to limit Covid-19 with the Zero-COVID policy. Many residents disagree with the restrictions as the policy allows for mass lockdowns. These lockdowns shut down whole cities and keep families separated for long periods of time, leading to multiple protests and riots.

   On November 28, a protest in Tiananmen Square (Beijing, China), broke out because of these restrictions. The protesters could be heard chanting in Mandarin, “Give me liberty or give me death.” This protest happened after a fire in Urumqi that left 10 dead. The victims were unable to escape, and firefighters were unable to enter the apartment building because of the lock-down measures.

   On November 29, China saw more than 71,000 new cases. This is an all-time high for Covid-19 in China, especially in one day. This spurred a lot of controversy regarding the effectiveness of the Zero-COVID policy. 

   As of the beginning of 2023, China finally opened its borders with Hong Kong. People can now enter China without quarantine. They only need a negative PCR result within 48 hours before they depart. Most families and friends are excited to reunite with one another, however not everyone can go into China, to be allowed in you must either have business, family or be a Chinese citizen. 

   China loosening the Zero-COVID policy has also affected its residents negatively. People who help make Covid-19 test kits have been getting paid less and even laid off. That has led to even more protests in China.

   The most recent protest happened on Saturday (January 7th, 2023) in Chongqing. The company in question is Zybio, a manufacturer of a Covid-19 antigen kit. Multiple people outside could be heard chanting, “Return our money!” The protesters were also filmed throwing boxes, stools, and even traffic cones at police carrying riot shields.

   The change may be negative now, but ultimately will allow China to return to pre-pandemic life. Chinese citizens will  have an opportunity to go back to “normal.” While we are often quick to judge our country’s decisions on Covid-19 policy, we should take the chance to be grateful for where we are now.