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China’s COVID monitoring app reduces travel history review

People wearing protective face masks carry their luggage at the capital’s airport, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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BEIJING, July 8 (Reuters) – Chinese national authorities are reducing citizens’ travel history reviews for COVID-19 monitoring, requiring a mandatory mobile app to show the previous seven days of travel, down from 14, an adjustment likely to stimulate domestic tourism.

The app, whose name translates to route map, helped authorities identify whether people were visiting COVID-infected areas and decide whether they should be tested for the virus or possibly quarantined.

On Friday, one of the app’s developers said it would only show cities visited by users in the past seven days, down from two weeks previously.

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Travel history record reduction has quickly become one of the top 20 trending topics on social media platform Weibo, with over 180 million reads.

“It’s a good thing for everyone, we don’t have to worry about our travel history for half a month anymore,” said one netizen.

“14 days was too much for those who have to do a lot of business trips,” said another.

This is the second major change to the app in recent days.

Last week, it completely stopped showing asterisks next to the names of towns with small areas that had been listed as medium or high risk.

The adjustment came as the government said it would reduce COVID quarantine requirements.

The changes have led to an increase in online searches for flights and hotels. Read more

The app is one of many tools China is using as part of its “dynamic COVID zero” policy, a strategy that has helped keep infection numbers rock-bottom but has taken a heavy toll. economy with its radical brakes.

Many local governments also have their own mobile apps to show people’s travel history, as well as their vaccination and health status. Many people complained on social media that their employers told them not to travel when new outbreaks emerged.

Domestic travel was hit hard by China’s response to outbreaks of the highly infectious variant of Omicron in April and May, which led to drastic closures in several cities.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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