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Since protesters took to the streets of Shanghai and other Chinese cities on the last weekend in November, authorities have signaled a careful, gradual and uneven shift in their COVID-19 strategy.   © Kyodo
Asia Insight

China recalibrates zero-COVID as patience runs thin

Low vaccinations, Xi's reputation and fear of the virus force a cautious shift

PAK YIU and ECHO WONG, Nikkei staff writers | China

HONG KONG -- Sun Chunlan, China's vice premier and COVID-19 czar, sat at a conference table surrounded by health experts wearing masks. "With the weakening of the pathogenicity of omicron, the popularity of vaccination, [and] the accumulation of experience in prevention and control, China is facing a new situation and new tasks," Beijing's state media quoted her as saying during a National Health Commission meeting last Wednesday.

It was not exactly a revocation of the zero-COVID policy China has pursued with relentless and sometimes merciless zeal during the pandemic, a policy that has disrupted the lives of millions and battered the economy.

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