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Global Times

China sets for normalcy after Beijing lowers emergency response level, lifts restrictions

Global Times

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/29 17:53:44

China sets for normalcy after capital lifts quarantine requirement

China's top epidemiologist said China is returning to normal after Beijing Municipality downgraded its emergency response from Level I to Level II from Thursday. Following Beijing's lead, the neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province announced the same decision.

Beijing's decision was announced during a press conference in the city on Wednesday on epidemic control and prevention.

During the press conference, Beijing officials also said that all arrivals to Beijing from low-risk areas in China do not have to stay in quarantine for 14 days. The policy does not apply to international visitors, or people from Hubei Province, and the cities of Harbin and Suifenhe in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Beijing also lifted its requirement for all arrivals to provide a negative nucleic acid test report before checking in to hotels.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Beijing's move shows China's achievement in COVID-19 prevention and control, which is also a signal of the return to normalcy.

Beijing has reported zero cases for 13 consecutive days. Officials announced Beijing to raise maximum passenger capacity of buses to 75 percent from the current 50 percent; metro up to 65 percent from 50 percent. Long-haul coaches in and out of the capital city will be gradually resumed.

"China has largely overcome the chance of a second wave of infections and imported cases are under control, and we are confident we can control sporadic cases even though they might occur," Zeng noted.

As the capital of China, Beijing is always careful in defending people's health and conservative in lifting epidemic control measures, Zeng said.

Bookings for outbound flights from Beijing jumped 15 times in just half an hour after Beijing announced to lower emergency response level and lifted several travel restrictions on Wednesday, travel platform said.

Online travel platform Lvmama said searches for tourism services for destinations in Beijing rose 200 percent after the announcement.

"It's safe to travel during the holidays with the strict control, as there no source of infection has been detected for a long time," Zeng said.

"I've decided to take my new baby to see my parents in Hebei Province during the May Day holiday. Things are getting better and I trust the government's decision. There is nothing to worry about," an employee surnamed Liu with a Beijing-based company told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Mao Shoulong, a professor of public administration at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday that work will resume completely in Beijing after the May Day holiday.

According to Mao, China has passed the stage of mass prevention and control at enormous economic costs. Considering the use of advanced technology and big data networks, China's epidemiological tracing and testing capability can prevent a second mass outbreak.

On Wednesday, China announced the rescheduled dates of its most important annual political events, the "two sessions" in late May, which usually take place in March. This is a signal that the COVID-19 epidemic situation in China is under control, analysts said.

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