Beijing has shown signs of returning to normal on the first day after abruptly reversing its strict pandemic policy.

On Wednesday, December 7, Beijing’s National Health Commission released a statement easing Zero Covid restrictions across the country. However, many wonder how long the correction will last or why it was reversed so suddenly.

An AFP journalist said that in the capital, where COVID restrictions have always been the strictest, traffic returned to half-normal intensity on Thursday.

Under the new guidelines, the frequency and scope of the crucial activity of the Zero policy and PCR testing have been reduced.

But while the number of testing sites around Beijing has dwindled, the rest remain busy, as many workplaces continue to request negative tests.

Chen Min, 28, told AFP, “I’ve come for a test because someone in my office has tested positive. I hope I haven’t caught Covid-19,”.

Some said they came to be tested because they work in the hospitality and food service industries, where testing is still required.

 One food delivery driver Zhang Lan said he needed to be tested because “it’s the company’s request” to avoid infecting customers.

The number of visitors at a nearby shopping mall is sparse, and the guards check customers’ health codes even though they no longer require negative COVID tests.

The manager of a Beijing Starbucks said everything was very quiet, and people were still afraid to go out.

The Chinese are now bracing for a wave of infections expected to follow after the easing of rules. AFP reporters saw long lines around the building of a fever clinic in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

According to domestic media, mainlanders also flock to drug stores to buy anti-fever medicines.

An employee at a Beijing pharmacy said her store had run out of cold and fever medicines. People have rushed to her store in the past few days to buy drugs, anticipating the risk of catching COVID after the policy easing.

She exclaimed, “Some of them, unfortunately, took much more than they needed. It could be enough for a year!”

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.