“The Chinese name for the coronavirus, identifying it as a disease that causes pneumonia, should be changed to simply an infectious virus,” Gu Xiaohong told the state-run Beijing Daily newspaper.
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China’s approach to COVID – which emphasizes widespread testing and quarantine of positive cases in specialized facilities – should change from “passive detection” to “active prevention”, with home recovery for mild cases.
According to Gu, the infectious diseases branch of the Chinese Medicine Association, which he chairs, has reached a consensus to change how they describe the virus. His remarks are in line with the recent softening of the tone of Chinese health experts and state media on COVID.
Chinese authorities themselves have relaxed some of the toughest COVID restrictions in the world. There are widespread expectations that the move could mark a more marked shift towards normalcy three years after the pandemic.
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Officials have begun to play down the danger posed by the virus. Earlier this week, the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary that “the most difficult period has passed”, citing the weakening of the virus’ pathogenicity and efforts to vaccinate 90% of the population.
Compared to other countries, China still applies strict regulations regarding the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The strict rules implemented by the Chinese government are met with opposition from its citizens. A number of protests erupted in several cities in China due to this strict rule.