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Beijing, Shenzhen loosen more COVID-19 curbs as China fine-tunes policy

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Beijing residents on Saturday cheered the removal of COVID-19 testing booths while Shenzhen said it would no longer require commuters to present test results to travel, as an easing of China’s virus curbs gathered pace.
Although daily cases are near all-time highs, some cities are taking steps to loosen COVID testing requirements and quarantine rules as China looks to make its zero-COVID policy more targeted amid a sharp economic slowdown and public frustration that has boiled over into unrest.
The southern city of Shenzhen announced it would no longer require people to show a negative COVID test result to use public transport or enter parks, following similar moves by Chengdu and Tianjin.
Many testing booths in Beijing have been shut, as the capital stops demanding negative test results as a condition to enter places such as supermarkets and prepares to do so for subways from Monday. Many other venues, including offices, still require testing.
A video showing workers in Beijing removing a testing booth by crane onto a truck went viral on Chinese social media on Friday.
“This should have been taken away earlier!,” said one commentator. “Banished to history,” said another.
Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage. At some of the remaining booths, however, residents grumbled about hour-long queues for the tests due to the closures.
Three years after COVID emerged in central China, the nation has been a global outlier with a zero-tolerance approach of lockdowns and frequent testing. The authorities say the measures are needed to save lives and avoid overwhelming China’s healthcare system.

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