EXPLAINER: Why are China’s COVID rules so strict?

Nov 28, 2022, 1:11 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 5:51 pm
FILE - A worker in protective suit walks through the caution tapes along metal barricades retail sh...

FILE - A worker in protective suit walks through the caution tapes along metal barricades retail shops that has been locked down as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Sunday, June 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

              FILE - Government Chief Information Officer Victor Lam holds a mobile phone to unveil a new COVID-19 tracking health code mobile app during a news conference in Hong Kong, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
            
              FILE - A man wearing a face mask carries a box with groceries as he leaves a supermarket in Beijing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - Residents wearing face masks line up behind barricaded tapes for COVID mass testing near a residential area on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - Residents holding umbrellas line up in the rain along the barricaded fence for COVID tests outside the locked-down apartment building on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - Residents line up for COVID-19 tests in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
            
              FILE - A woman gets her routine COVID-19 throat swab at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A woman has her routine COVID-19 test at a coronavirus testing site setup inside a residential compound in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A man shows his health check QR code as he and others line up to get their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A worker in protective suit walks through the caution tapes along metal barricades retail shops that has been locked down as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Sunday, June 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING (AP) — At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China set out its “zero-COVID” measures that were harsh, but not out of line with what many other countries were doing to try and contain the virus. While most other nations saw the health and safety regulations as temporary until vaccines were widely available, however, China has stuck steadfastly to its strategy.

Weary of the policy that has confined millions of people to their homes in an attempt to isolate every infection, and with an eye on the freedoms now enjoyed elsewhere around the world, protests have broken out around China in recent days.

Though some anti-virus restrictions have been eased in some places, the ruling Communist Party has affirmed its “zero-COVID” strategy. Here are some of the regulations:

TESTS AND QUARANTINE FOR INBOUND PASSENGERS

Inbound travelers need to take a PCR test before flying and quarantine in a hotel for five days and at home for three days upon arrival. That may seem strict, but prior to updated regulations earlier this month, travelers needed to take two PCR tests before flying and quarantine for seven days in a hotel and three days at home. Before that, the quarantine period was 14 days.

China also ended its “circuit breaker” policy of shutting down a flight for a week or two if a certain percentage of passengers aboard tested positive for COVID-19, with the length of the ban dependent upon how many had the virus.

ISOLATION ON DOMESTIC ROUTES

Travelers on domestic flights, trains or buses who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19 need to quarantine for five days at designated sites, plus three days at home. Prior to November changes, the quarantine time was longer and the close contacts of the person with close contact to someone with COVID-19 also needed to isolate. People who visited areas in China deemed “high-risk” also need to quarantine for seven days at home.

GREEN CODE

Inside China, individuals need to show their personal “green code” — indicating they are COVID-19-negative — when entering public places like shopping malls and restaurants, or when using public transit. Everyone must register with their identification papers, and the code is then displayed through a smartphone app. Staying “green” means not contracting COVID-19, not being a close contact of someone with the virus, and not visiting areas deemed to be a risk. If there is an outbreak in your area, local authorities may require regular testing to keep the code green. In Beijing at the moment, for example, residents must undergo a rapid coronavirus test at least every 48 hours at a government-approved facility.

WHO GOES INTO LOCKDOWN?

China has reacted quickly and decisively to any detection of COVID-19, and has locked down parts of, or entire cities. At the moment the central urban area of Chongqing, with about 10.3 million people, is on lockdown, as is part of Guangzhou.

The decision on what to lock down depends on the scale of the outbreak. Smaller lockdowns of buildings, building compound areas or city districts are common. Entire apartment building units are locked down if a single resident is found to have COVID-19, and people are not allowed to leave for at least five days. Food and other essential supplies can be ordered for delivery.

Similarly, office buildings are locked down if someone in the building tests positive for COVID-19 until the building can be disinfected, a process that usually takes several days.

OTHER RESTRICTIONS

China has in place many other regulations that would be familiar to most from the early months of the pandemic. Social distancing is encouraged, and people have to wear masks in public venues. In areas where there is believed to be a risk of transmission, there are restrictions on large gatherings, restaurants are closed for indoor dining, and enhanced disinfection measures are required at public venues.

Much like the bubble measures imposed for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, facilities where people are deemed most at risk, like nursing homes, have “closed-loop management” plans in place, under which workers live in their workplaces with no outside contacts.

___

AP news researchers Caroline Chen and Yu Bing contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
14 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
14 hours ago
FILE - This booking photo provided by the Washington County, Md., Sheriff's Office, May 28, 2020, s...
Associated Press

Former college student pleads guilty to deadly sword attack

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former University of Connecticut student pleaded guilty to murder and other charges Wednesday for killing a man and severely wounding another with a sword in 2020 — one of two deadly attacks that led to a six-day manhunt in several states that ended with his capture in Maryland. Peter Manfredonia, […]
2 days ago
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, guests watch a show near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse...
Associated Press

Disney’s 1Q results fueled by growth at its theme parks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Walt Disney Co.’s latest quarterly results topped Wall Street’s forecasts, as solid growth at the entertainment giant’s theme parks helped offset tepid performance in its video streaming and movie business. Disney said Wednesday that it earned $1.28 million, or 70 cents per share, in the three months through Dec. 31. […]
2 days ago
Judge Gary Hill waves after lawmakers voted to make him the next state Supreme Court justice on Wed...
Associated Press

South Carolina becomes only state with all-male high court

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina on Wednesday became the nation’s only state without a woman on its Supreme Court — a development that comes amid increasing Republican scrutiny of the court that narrowly struck down the conservative state’s abortion ban last month. The Republican-led Legislature chose Judge Gary Hill to replace the high court’s […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Wednesday 2/7/2023

Wall Street gave back some of its recent gains Wednesday as uncertainty about interest rates and inflation continued to reign. The losses followed another mixed set of earnings reports. Chipotle Mexican Grill sank after delivering weaker results for the latest quarter than expected, while disappointing forecasts for upcoming results knocked other stocks lower. CVS Health […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
EXPLAINER: Why are China’s COVID rules so strict?