China eases COVID curbs to save its economy

STORY: China on Friday (November 11) eased some of its harsh COVID rules.

This included shortening quarantines from seven days to five for close contacts of infected people – and for inbound travelers.

It also removed a penalty for airlines bringing in too many cases, as well as other anti-virus measures.

Beijing resident Zhang is pleased that China is changing its contact-tracing efforts, which previously extended to "secondary" contacts.

"I think the control and prevention measures are pretty good. Everyone should understand what the measures are for, step-by-step. It's not feasible to have 10 people sacrificing for one person’s actions (if they get infected), because this affects the local economic situation. But whether it’s impacting a country or a company, we all need to focus on our economic situation. But of course, some situations are inevitable, while others are actually not. We should try our best to minimize the negative impact."

The loosening of the rules came a day after China's new Politburo Standing Committee discussed COVID during a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping.

Infections numbers have hit their highest since this year’s Shanghai lockdown, with Guangzhou currently the epicenter.

Despite this, the committee stressed the need to minimize the impact of containing outbreaks on the country’s economy.

The move has cheered the markets, with Shanghai’s CSI 300 jumping almost 3% and the yuan strengthening as high as 7.06 per dollar, its strongest level since September 22.

After this policy decision, foreign investors bought $2.1 billion worth of Chinese shares, the biggest amount in two months.