China's capital Beijing is relaxing its COVID-19 restrictions starting March 16, according to a press conference held on March 15.
Xu Hejian, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, said those arriving in Beijing from low-risk areas in the country do not have to provide negative nucleic acid test results within seven days upon arrival, while taxi and online car-hailing services between Beijing and other cities are meanwhile expected to resume.
The policy change will also provide more convenience for lorry drivers who regularly transport agricultural products to Xinfadi, the city's largest wholesale market supplying fruit, vegetables, and meat products to its citizens.
Zhang Junqing, a lorry driver, has been one of the beneficiaries of this shift. At 1:00 am on March 16, the driver arrived in his fully-loaded lorry at the wholesale market all the way from south China's Hainan province with 27 tons of fresh corn.
"I departed from an expressway service area in Langfang city in northern China's Hebei province at twelve midnight on March 16, the very moment the new policy took effect," Zhang said, noting that it has become more convenient for him to travel to Beijing without having to provide recent negative nucleic acid test results.
Before the new policy took effect, lorry drivers usually stopped at the Langfang service area in order to take nucleic acid tests, and then had to wait about six to seven hours for the test results.
"In the past, I had to get a nucleic acid test before my departure from Hainan and take another test when I arrived in Beijing. I must also verify my identity and get my body temperature checked before entering the Xinfadi wholesale market," Zhang said, explaining that he understands that the aim of the strict epidemic prevention and control measures is to protect people's health.
The restoration of normal productive activities and everyday life could save a lot of trouble, Zhang said with a smile, adding that he could make more trips to Xinfadi, as fresh fruits and vegetables begin to hit the spring market, including vegetables from southern China and parts of northern China, nectarines from Hebei, melons from northeast China's Liaoning province, and strawberries from east China's Anhui.
"More trips means that I can earn more," said the lorry driver, who is confident in his ability to bring in more money this year.