A worker checks the operation of a carbon fiber production line at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. (Photo by Geng Yuhe/for China Daily)
As Chinese cities gradually regain their hustle and bustle with optimized epidemic prevention and control measures, people are being encouraged to return to work if their health conditions allow.
Staff members at Party and government institutions or enterprises in Chongqing who have mild COVID-19 symptoms can go to work if they wear a mask, according to a notice from the local COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters on Sunday.
Negative test results are no longer needed in those places, except for certain meetings or activities with special requirements, the notice said.
A negative test is also unnecessary in public places except elderly care and social welfare centers, prisons, nursery care centers and primary and middle schools.
Medical institutions also no longer require a negative test result except for new inpatients and their caregivers.
The notice said the city's districts and counties will retain certain sampling sites to serve residents as needed, and measures will be taken to meet residents' needs for medicines and medical consultations.
To reduce the impact of the Omicron variant, the headquarters suggested residents wear masks when participating in group activities or in public places such as while on public transportation.
The pace of vaccination and booster shots among the elderly will be accelerated, the notice said.
Chongqing, a southwestern municipality of 32 million people, had reported more than 90,000 infections at the peak of its most recent outbreak, which began on Nov 1. Most cases were found in 11 districts in central urban areas of the city.
Zhejiang province in East China released a similar notice on Sunday to encourage more people back to work.
Employees who show no or mild symptoms could continue to work in the office if necessary, as long as adequate personal protections are taken, local officials said at a news conference.
"Companies and public offices should take COVID-19 seriously, adopt active measures and prepare in advance to avoid mass infections in the same institution, so as to minimize the impact of the epidemic," Chen Zhong, deputy director of the provincial epidemic control and prevention office, said at the news conference.
They should make efforts in symptom management, and provide adequate health monitoring for their employees, he said.
It is suggested that the public protect themselves by wearing masks, especially in public places, disinfecting hands regularly and maintaining safe social distancing during this period.
To prevent cross infection, people should try to reduce travel and vaccination efforts should be strengthened, Chen added. "Those who are eligible for the second booster shot should do so as soon as possible."
In addition, companies, government offices and institutions are advised to "optimize their personnel arrangements and implement closed-loop management", and for key positions, optimized shifts are recommended to ensure normal operation at the height of the epidemic, he said.