China retires major COVID tracking app as virus rules ease
A significant step in the country, its zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy is China’s announcement that it will remove the app used to track COVID-19 connections. China said Monday it would retire an app used to track COVID-19 contacts, a milestone in the country’s rapid turn away from its zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy.
After more than two years in operation, the government-run “Communications Itinerary Card,” which determines whether someone has visited a high-risk location based on their phone signal, will be discontinued at 12 a.m. Tuesday, according to an official WeChat post.
In order to travel between provinces or enter events, millions of individuals had to input their phone numbers on the “Itinerary Card,” which was a significant component of China’s zero-Covid policy. Only a few days prior, China declared the termination of widespread lockdowns, the requirement of quarantine in central facilities, and a general relaxation of testing restrictions, thereby abandoning its zero-Covid approach.
Although the number of officially recorded cases in the nation has significantly decreased from all-time highs last month, leading Chinese health expert Zhong Nanshan issued a warning in state media on Sunday that the predominant Omicron type was “spreading swiftly” throughout the nation.
The Itinerary Card was modified several times before 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 different colors depending on users’ projected levels of Covid exposure.
The majority of individuals use regional “health codes” administered by their city or province to enter stores and offices, making it one of a variety of tracking apps that have dominated daily life in China throughout the pandemic. However, social media users applauded the retirement of the Itinerary Card, pointing out the symbolism of Beijing removing its primary tracking programe. Many people shared screenshots of their most recent logins. On the platform Weibo, which is similar to Twitter, someone wrote, “Bye bye, this heralds the end of an era, and also welcomes a whole new one.” Another added, “Goodbye itinerary card, concerts here I come.” Others questioned what would happen to the enormous amounts of data the app had gathered.
One Weibo user stated, “The Itinerary Card and other comparable items entail tremendous amounts of personal information and private data.”
“I’m hoping there will be ways to log out and get rid of this.”