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Beijing, several other cities scrap check on COVID-19 tests for public transportation

Beijing’s shopping malls will all be open starting from December 3, although some still cannot provide dine-in services, and a 48-hour test is required.

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Beijing: Several major Chinese cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, announced they would scrap checks of two-day or three-day valid COVID-19 test results previously required for passengers of public transportation.

Residents in cities such as Chengdu and Guangzhou no longer need to show test results when entering most public places, Global Times reported.

Beijing announced that 48-hour valid nucleic acid tests are no longer needed on buses and subways starting next Monday. Passengers must still keep their masks on, the Beijing government said.

Beijing’s shopping malls will all be open starting from December 3, although some still cannot provide dine-in services, and a 48-hour test is required, media reported.

The capital’s health commission on Friday urged residents to fulfil their duties in preventing COVID-19, and “be the first person responsible for your own health,” a phrase recently used by the local government after the release of the country’s optimized COVID-19 response measures.

The subway operators in Tianjin, Beijing’s close neighbor, also scrapped checks for 72-hour valid nucleic acid tests for passengers starting Friday.

The move followed Chengdu, which, in addition to cancelling checks for nucleic tests for taking subways, told residents on Thursday that nucleic acid tests were not needed to enter most public places, and only green heath codes were required. However, test results were still needed when entering medical institutions.

Chengdu also said that close contacts shall be placed under centralized quarantine in principle, and those who meet the conditions for home quarantine are allowed to be quarantined at home.

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, which has been hardest hit by the recent COVID-19 wave, was among the first to cancel checks of nucleic acid tests in some public places in low-risk areas.

Many Chinese cities are further optimizing their epidemic response with a “consistent strategy and flexible measures,” facing the weaker Omicron strain.

The Xinhua News Agency published an editorial on Friday urging cities to impose restriction measures fast and lift those measures quickly, calling for the impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives and economic, social development to be minimized.

Jinzhou in Liaoning Province vowed to clear all cases, claiming it had fought for several days and already seen a tapering point. “It would be a pity if we can clear the cases but we give up,” the government said.

Jinzhou, a city with a population of 2.69 million, has adhered to restrictive measures since November. The city reported 25 asymptomatic cases yesterday.

But on Thursday night, the city walked back its previous statement and announced normal life returning in an orderly manner, including the opening of supermarkets and restaurants, but that 48-hour valid nucleic acid tests are still needed.

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Pakistan

Begum Alvi underlines need to safeguard PWD’s rights with provision of facilities

She expressed the optimism that with joint efforts, they would be able to diffuse the negative attitude attached with disabilities.  

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Islamabad: First Lady Begum Samina Alvi on Saturday stressed upon the need of paying special attention to the rights of the persons with disabilities (PWDs) so that they should not lag behind in playing their effective role in the society.

The First lady, in a message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities being observed on December 3, said that over one billion people of the world’s population suffered from some form of disability.

She observed that PWDs were not handicapped, but they possessed slightly different capabilities. They possessed certain capacities like other ordinary people.

She said it was a collective responsibility of all to encourage the PWDs to become effective members of the society.

Begum Alvi also stressed upon the business community to provide employment opportunities to the PWDs according to the quota and their talents. They should also provide safe and friendly environment to the PWDs at the places of jobs.

Due to the existence of certain hurdles in the social, physical and basic infrastructure, the PWDs were deprived of the quality educational and health facilities, she added.

She called upon the nation to provide all possible support and facilities to the PWDs in their surroundings and include them in their daily life activities by safeguarding their rights.

She appealed to the media to highlight the rights of the PWDs and dispel and discourage the negative attitudes and stereotypes in the society, adding it was regrettable that persons with disabilities were kept aloof from the mainstream of society.

The first lady further observed that PWDs had to face numerous issues in their ordinary life, including access and movement in different buildings due to lack of proper facilities and ramps. Moreover, they had to face differences and negative attitudes in the society.

Begum Alvi expressed the optimism that with joint efforts, they would be able to diffuse the negative attitude attached with disabilities.  

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World

UNSC condemns attack on Pakistani embassy in Kabul, demands punishment to perpetrators

The statement underscored the need for bringing the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

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United Nations: The UN Security Council issued a press statement today condemning in “the strongest terms” Friday’s terrorist attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul that targeted the Head of the Mission and called for ensuring the safety of diplomatic and consular premises.

The 15-member Council, acting by consensus, also wished a speedy and full recovery to the security guard who was critically injured in the “reprehensible” attack.

The statement, which came hours after the news of the attack reached here, underscored the need for bringing the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

“The members of the Security Council called on all relevant parties to respect and ensure the safety and security of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel of United Nations Member States,” it said.

The statement added, “The members of the Security Council stressed the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises, and the obligations on receiving States under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity and any attack on diplomatic premises, agents and consular officers.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers, and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.

“They urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities”.

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