The Chinese government has toned down some of its COVID rules amid rising cases, although to a modest degree. 

Most of the adjustments, as reported by Reuters, favor traveling.

For inbound travelers and close contacts of positive patients, isolation in a state facility is reduced by two days. This means 5 days of quarantine in a centralized point plus three days of home isolation.

The number of pre-departure tests required for international travelers decreases from two to one. But those arriving from abroad still have to stay isolated for eight straight days if they do not have a permanent address in the country.

China has also removed the circuit breaker system, a temporary route ban if any airline carries several positive patients to the mainland. Bloomberg previously reported from sources that Beijing would continue to facilitate a revitalization of normal aviation traffic after forgoing the mechanism.

Another scrapped rule is secondary contact tracing, which targets all people with possible exposure to a positive patient.

The changes were announced on November 11 during a new Politburo Standing Committee meeting. Officials declared commitment to upholding zero-COVID while limiting societal and economic upheaval.

As Reuters quotes, China’s National Health Commission states, “Optimising and adjusting prevention and control measures is not relaxing prevention and control, let alone opening up and ‘laying flat’, but to adapt to the new situation of epidemic prevention and control and the new characteristics of COVID-19 mutation.”

The easing came as China is reporting persistent case rises. The country reported 10,535 new locally transmitted cases on November 10, which Sky News pointed out is the highest number since April 29. It was around when financial hub Shanghai struggled with its chaotic outbreak.

The slight loosening cleared some clouds in the Chinese market. According to CNN, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.5% after noon local time, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index surged 7%.

Reuters cited from travel portal Qunar that the number of searches for overseas flights has increased by thrice during November 10 and is still increasing.

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