Beijing is tightening its hardline “zero COVID” rules, mandating that children show a negative test result to enter parks in China’s capital.
Children older than three will need to show a green health code on the system that controls people’s movements, as well as a negative COVID-19 result no older than 72 hours, a statement from the Beijing Municipal Administration Center of Parks said.
Previously, children were able to go to parks and other public places without getting their test results checked provided their parents met requirements for entry.
China is relying on frequent testing to identify, then quash, transmission chains early even as its zero-tolerance approach comes under increasing strain from more transmissible variants and isolates it from the rest of the world.
While Beijing has contained its recent flare-up without a widespread lockdown, authorities in the city are under immense pressure to control the situation ahead of the party congress in the second half of the year, when Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is expected to secure an unprecedented third term as leader.
Getting a test is not particularly onerous and children have had to participate in previous rounds of mass testing. China is setting up tens of thousands of booths across the country, initially with a focus on major cities, to meet a pledge to ensure residents will always be just a 15-minute walk away from a swabbing point.
Still, the new rule was seen as extreme even by a population that has been subject to varying degrees of pandemic curbs. A hashtag linked to the story was one of the top five trending items on China’s Sina Weibo yesterday morning, with posters questioning how useful the policy will be.
For children wanting to play in parks, they will now need to swipe their national identification cards on a machine or have their health status checked via someone else’s phone.
Beijing’s most recent cluster was linked to a bar, and there has never been an infection linked to a park. More than 95 percent of Chinese children between three and 17 years old are now fully vaccinated, according to latest data.
Apps and Web sites that use artificial intelligence (AI) to undress women in photos are soaring in popularity, researchers said. In September alone, 24 million people visited undressing Web sites, the social network analysis company Graphika said. Many of these undressing, or “nudify,” services use popular social networks for marketing, Graphika said. For instance, since the beginning of this year, the number of links advertising undressing apps increased more than 2,400 percent on social media, including on X and Reddit, the researchers said. The services use AI to recreate an image so that the person is nude. Many of the services only
IN ABSOLUTE CONTROL: About 80 percent of Russians approve of Putin, a survey shows, but that might be misleading due to his intolerance to criticism Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday moved to prolong his repressive and unyielding grip on Russia for at least another six years, announcing his candidacy in the presidential election in March that he is all but certain to win. Putin still commands wide support after nearly a quarter-century in power, despite starting an immensely costly war in Ukraine that has taken thousands of his people’s lives, provoked repeated attacks inside Russia — including one on the Kremlin itself — and corroded its aura of invincibility. A short-lived rebellion in June by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin raised widespread speculation that Putin could be
JUMPING BAIL: The democracy advocate said made the decision after ‘considering the situation in Hong Kong, my personal safety, my physical and mental health’ Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭), who was jailed over her role in massive 2019 protests, on Sunday said she had moved to Canada and would not return to meet her bail conditions. Chow was one of the best-known young faces of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 protest movements against Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. She spent about seven months behind bars for her role in a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters in 2019, when huge crowds rallied week after week in the most serious challenge to China’s rule since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. On Sunday
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign