Shijiazhuang is not actually a city known for its pioneering spirit. The rather faceless capital of the Chinese province of Hebei has so far been associated primarily with smog in the rest of the country. But this week, Shijiazhuang is making a name for itself as a pioneer of a new corona policy. The city is among the first in China to abolish the general corona test requirement after the national health authority recommended the step in a 20-point plan.
One might have guessed that the residents would be enthusiastic about this relaxation. But it wasn’t quite like that. Many parents withdrew their children from school for fear that they could become infected with Corona there. Other parents had to pick up their children again because so few had come that teachers had to switch to online classes. Still others rushed to the pharmacy to get traditional Chinese medicine, which the government has touted since the beginning of the pandemic as a kind of antidote to Corona, although there is no evidence of its effectiveness. In many pharmacies, the capsules of the flu drug Lianhua Qingwen are sold out. Antipyretics such as ibuprofen are also in short supply in Shijiazhuang.