China has signaled that it might ease its “zero COVID” policy in response to an unprecedented surge of protests across the country even though cases continue to climb.

Iran PressAsia: People have taken to the streets in major cities and gathered at university campuses across China in a wave of protests not seen since pro-democracy rallies in 1989 were crushed.

The top official in charge of China’s COVID response told health officials Wednesday that the country faced a “new stage and mission” in pandemic control.

“With the decreasing toxicity of the Omicron variant, the increasing vaccination rate and the accumulating experience of outbreak control and prevention, China’s pandemic containment faces a new stage and mission,” Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said Wednesday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The remarks follow a surge in public frustration with zero-COVID and its high human cost, which erupted into unprecedented demonstrations in at least 19 cities since last Friday.


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Rare protest rages against China's ruling system in major cities