China cancels tracing app amid widespread dismantling of zero covid policy | China

China cancels tracing app amid widespread dismantling of zero covid policy | China

China announced plans to scrap its core Covid tracking app in the latest rollback of anti-pandemic measures, just days after abruptly abandoning a long-standing zero Covid policy.

It came as health authorities, warning of an infection spread on the horizon, redeployed hundreds of thousands of doctors and nurses to intensive care units in preparation for a surge in Omicron’s population of 1.4 billion.

An official announcement made on Monday said the government-run Telecom Itinerary Card would be withdrawn on Tuesday. application Track people’s movements Using mobile phone signals, identify those who have been in high-risk areas in order to control their travel to other areas.

The national app has been a key pillar of the technology infrastructure that has guided the government’s response to Covid. A wide range of local and regional applications have used health data that often cannot be shared with other regions.

Online, residents shared screenshots of the final login and said goodbye to the application. “Bye itinerary card, concerts are coming,” one person wrote.

Another wrote: “In the last few years we’ve seen ‘history’ over and over again, and I hope there will never be a day when it is used again.”

Some have expressed concern about the massive amounts of personal data the app and others like it collect. “I hope there are mechanisms and measures in place to log off and delete that,” said one.

The application is the latest principles China’s zero covid policy must be dismantled. Over the past week, testing requirements have been significantly reduced, local travel restrictions have been lifted, and infected people have been allowed to quarantine at home rather than being sent to specialized facilities.

Official case numbers have dropped but are no longer considered a reliable measure as mandatory testing has been drastically curtailed and testing stations everywhere dismantled. Videos showed long lines of people queuing in Shanghai at the few remaining testing sites left open for workers in vulnerable sectors.

On Sunday, China’s top disease expert warned of an upcoming increase in the number of cases. Zhong Nanshan said the Omicron variant is “spreading rapidly,” and that one person can infect 22 other people.

The authorities are now preparing to transfer nearly 300,000 doctors and nurses to intensive care units across the country. China’s health system is concentrated in the big cities and along the wealthier east coast. The government has faced criticism for not using the Covid zero period to build its capacity. Nationwide, there is one intensive care bed per 10,000 residents, which is significantly less than other countries in the region. 3.6

With vaccination rates falling among vulnerable older populations, the rapid change of rules has caused some fear and anxiety among the population. There have also been widespread reports Lack of medicines and rapid checks In pharmacies and on the Internet.

Ahead of the Lunar New Year in January—the nation’s busiest travel period—Chung urged people to get their booster shots.

According to state media, he said, “It is highly unlikely that people will be prevented from traveling home to celebrate the Lunar New Year in 2023, but it is still important to step up preparations.”

Online, there has been concern among students who are supposed to take a major exam in late December. The graduate admission test requires that the expected 5 million participants travel around the country and congregate in large groups.

In his interview, Zhong sounded optimistic, as if to suggest life would return to pre-pandemic China within months.

“I was asked when our lives can go back to the way we were in 2019. My opinion is that in the first half of next year after March,” he said, according to the South China Morning Post.

“While I can’t vouch for it, the trend says it should be around that time.”

Restrictions imposed by China to contain and control the virus were initially successful against previous variants of the disease and allowed most Chinese to live largely normal lives for most of the past three years. But the system was mired in the increased portability of later variants such as Omicron. I faced the government Unprecedented protests last month Against onerous and repeated lockdowns, as well as other restrictions that have had significant social and economic impacts.

Seemingly in response, many of these restrictions were suddenly shelved. Videos circulating on social media showed abandoned quarantine centers and testing sites, filled with disapprovals of the previous policy. Government media and health messages have centered around emphasizing Omicron’s low risk, and urging individual responsibility. An official video showing people removing face masks with apparent relief was criticized for suggesting we ease mask-wearing just as Covid began to spread unchecked.

Additional reporting by Chi Hui Lin

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