China further relaxes Covid rules after protests

Beijing, Dec 2 (AFP/APP): Cities across China further unwound Covid restrictions Friday, loosening testing and quarantine rules in the wake of nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms.

Anger and frustration with China’s hardline pandemic response spilled onto the streets last weekend in widespread demonstrations not seen in decades.

China’s vast security apparatus has moved swiftly to smother the rallies, deploying a heavy police presence while boosting online censorship and surveillance of the population.

A number of cities have now begun loosening Covid restrictions, such as moving away from daily mass testing — a tedious mainstay of life under Beijing’s stringent zero-Covid policy.

But sporadic localised clashes have continued to flare up.