(Bloomberg) -- China is reporting fewer Covid-19 cases as a wave that started to accelerate last month appears to be tailing off amid a pullback in the sweeping testing regime that saw a negative result needed to even enter a public park.

The nation reported 27,164 cases for Monday, down from 29,171 on Sunday. Infections have fallen each of the past eight days since peaking at 38,808 on Nov. 27. 

On Tuesday morning, the capital of Beijing said that negative tests would no longer be needed to enter a range of public venues, following cities from financial center Shanghai to tech hub Shenzhen in dialing back testing requirements as officials seek to meet a more targeted, less onerous Covid playbook. 

While regular testing is still required in many places to enter restaurants and high-risk areas like aged-care homes, the moves mark a retreat from a testing regime that at one point saw PCR diagnostic booths on every corner in major cities, and children required to test negative to go to parks in Beijing.

Shanghai, which saw a grueling two-month lockdown earlier in the year, scrapped PCR testing requirements to enter most public venues except some like restaurants, bars and nursing homes, city authorities said late Monday. Measures will “continue to be optimized and adjusted” in line with national policy and the local situation, according to the statement.

Other cities from Hangzhou — home to tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. — Shenzhen and Dalian, and provinces like Shandong and Jiangxi, have largely followed suit in reining in testing demands. 

The string of announcements comes after government officials over the past week signaled a transition away from the harshest Covid restrictions, which have weighed on the economy and prompted thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets to voice their anger. Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said last week that the country’s pandemic control has entered a new phase. Confronted with evolving challenges and tasks, the government will take small, consistent steps to optimize Covid measures, she said.

Health experts are also downplaying the threat of Covid, walking back rhetoric of the past three years when the government told its people that Covid-19 was so dangerous that the world’s most-populous country needed to be closed off to combat it. Tong Zhaohui, director of the Beijing Institute of Respiratory Diseases, was quoted by state broadcaster CCTV as saying Monday that the rate of Omicron variants causing pneumonia and severe illness is lower than that of influenza, and more than 90% of recent domestic cases are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, state propaganda continued to churn out reports about measures taken by local governments to ease Covid restrictions, as well as expert advice on how to avoid getting Covid or how to deal with the virus if infected. In a short commentary published early Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency said the pathogenicity of Omicron is weakening and China’s ability to cope with the outbreak is increasing, laying the foundation for authorities to optimize and improve Covid prevention and control measures. 

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