A phone app that tracked people’s travels throughout the pandemic has been deactivated, according to an announcement from China.
At the end of Monday, the national app, which has been in use for three years, will be discontinued.
The most recent policy shift indicates Beijing is giving up its contentious “zero-CO2” goal.
Due to the continued use of local apps in cities all throughout China, despite the move’s strong symbolic value, it will not have a significant influence on people’s day-to-day lives. (Also Read: US sports journalist Grant Wahl dies in Qatar)
One of the main components of China’s “zero-COVID” policy was the state-run Communications Itinerary Card app, which tracks travel to high-risk areas via phone signals.
The software needed users to submit their phone numbers in order to display a green arrow that indicated they could move between regions and enter events.
Since the COVID prevention limitations have been lifted, it is easier to move across provinces; thus, authorities have abandoned the national app.
China’s social media users generally applaud the app’s demise.
However, it is just one of several tracking applications that have controlled daily life in China. Many individuals still use scanning systems run by their city or province to access neighborhood amenities and public facilities.
The policy shift is symbolic for a country that is abandoning its contentious “zero-carbon” approach in the wake of protracted demonstrations in numerous towns.
Ten people were murdered in a high-rise building fire in western Xinjiang in November, which sparked recent unrest. The rescue effort was hampered by long-standing restrictions, which were blamed for the fire.
Following regulatory reforms, patients with COVID are now able to isolate at home rather than in government facilities, and mass testing has been broadly relaxed.
China is currently seeing an increase in COVID instances; according to Beijing officials, over 22,000 individuals attended hospitals across the city on Sunday, which is a 16-fold increase from the previous week.
China reported 8,626 domestic cases on Sunday, but the actual number is likely far higher because testing is no longer widely practiced.