On Friday, November 11, the Chinese government released a package of 20 new policy measures to "optimise" the country's COVID response. A summary of these measures is below.
These new measures are issued by the Comprehensive Team for Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism for COVID-19 under the State Council (国务院应对新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情联防联控机制综合组) and in a document titled Notice on further optimising the COVID-19 prevention and control measures with scientific precision (关于进一步优化新冠肺炎疫情防控措施 科学精准做好防控工作的通知).
This package of measures comes a day after the Politburo Standing Committee reaffirmed the zero-COVID policy:
The new measures amount to a notable and welcoming shift that moves China down the long path towards normalcy. But as we cautioned yesterday:
On the one hand, China is unlikely to reopen any time soon, and the tough measures will continue to be the norm in the short term with their accompanying human costs.
On the other hand, we will see added efforts to address the fallout from government policy, including efforts to curb excessive local government actions and restore some semblance of normalcy to life and work where possible.
Here are the 20 new measures:
1. For close contacts, the "7-day centralised quarantine + 3-day home health monitoring" requirement has been adjusted to "5-day centralised quarantine + 3-day home quarantine".
2. Attempts will no longer be made to identify secondary contacts.
3. The requirement for those from a high-risk zone entering another area has been adjusted from “7-day centralised quarantine” to “7-day home quarantine”.
4. The risk zone categories have been adjusted from “high, medium and low” to “high and low” to minimise the number of people under control measures. Work units and buildings are now designated units for assigning risk zone categories, and zones cannot be arbitrarily expanded. High-risk zones that meet the conditions for unsealing must be unsealed promptly.