China's zero-COVID curbs may hamper quick recovery

China's zero-COVID curbs may hamper quick recovery

BEIJING: Judging by Friday's quiet streets in Beijing and the adherence to virus curbs by some city eateries, the anxieties created by zero-COVID policies are likely to hamper a quick return to health for the world's second-largest economy.

Many people and businesses seem wary of being too quick to shake off the shackles, despite the fact that the government loosened key parts of the strict controls that kept the epidemic largely at bay for the past three years.

There were more signs of life in the central city of Wuhan, where the outbreak erupted in late 2019, with some areas busy with commuters on Friday. A return to normal is still a long way off the table, according to locals.

A taxi driver surnamed Wang, who didn't want to give his full name, said they've relaxed the measures but still there s nobody about.

They should be busy, full of people, and these roads should be filled with them. There is no one. China has been nothing but placid over the past few weeks, with protests against COVID 19 curbs in many cities across the country, which was the biggest show of public discontent since President Xi Jinping came to power a decade ago.

Some of the protesters, who were scooped up by China's security apparatus, now face an anxious wait for their fate.

The National Health Commission stressed its commitment to its strict virus containment policy, saying it was putting people and lives first, it has sounded a retreat from zero-COVID and officials are telling people they have less to fear.

According to People's Daily, 99 per cent of people who are now infected with the virus would recover in 7 to 10 days, according to a leading Chinese epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan.