A significant step in the swift abandonment of the nation’s zero-tolerance coronavirus approach, China said on Monday that it will discontinue a Covid-19 contact tracking app.
After more than two years in existence, the state-run “Communications Itinerary Card,” which determines if someone has visited a high-risk location based on their phone signal, will be discontinued at 12 am Tuesday, according to an official WeChat post.
The “Itinerary Card” was a crucial component of China’s zero-Covid policy, requiring millions of individuals to enter their phone numbers to generate the card’s distinctive green arrow in order to travel between provinces or access events.
Just a few days prior, China declared an end to widespread lockdowns, obligatory quarantines in central facilities, and a sweeping easing of testing regulations, thus abandoning its zero-Covid plan.
Officially recorded cases in the nation have dramatically decreased from all-time highs last month, but leading Chinese health expert Zhong Nanshan issued a warning in state media on Sunday that the prevalent Omicron form was “spreading swiftly” across the nation.
The Itinerary Card was modified many times until a final revision this year decreased the tracking period from 14 to seven days. The Itinerary Card was first introduced in 2020 with a four-tier system that allocated various colors according to users’ projected levels of Covid exposure.
It is only one of many tracking applications that have controlled daily life in China during the epidemic, with the majority of people utilizing regional “health codes” administered by their city or province to enter stores and workplaces.
Social media users praised the Itinerary Card’s retirement despite this, pointing out the significance of Beijing removing its primary surveillance software.
Many people shared images of their “last” logins.
On the Twitter-like Chinese social media site Weibo, someone remarked, “Bye-bye, this heralds the end of an era, and also welcomes a fresh new one.”
Another said, “Goodbye itinerary card, concerts here I come.”
Others questioned what would happen to the enormous amounts of data the program acquired.
According to one Weibo user, “The Itinerary Card and other like items entail tremendous quantities of personal information and private data.” “I’m hoping there will be ways to log out and erase this.”