People in China's capital Beijing were allowed to enter parks, supermarkets, offices and airports without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test on Tuesday, the latest in a mix of easing steps nationwide after last month's historic protests, Reuters
"Beijing readies itself for life again" read a headline in the government-owned China Daily newspaper, adding that people were "gradually embracing" their newfound freedoms.
Authorities have been loosening some of the world's toughest COVID curbs to varying degrees and softening their tone on the threat of the virus, in what many hope could herald a more pronounced shift towards normalcy three years into the pandemic.
Both of the city's airports also no longer require people to test to enter the terminal, state media reported on Tuesday, although there was no indication of changes to rules requiring passengers to show negative tests prior to boarding.
But further loosening beckons after a string of protests last month that marked the biggest show of public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.
China may announce 10 new national easing measures as early as Wednesday, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The prospect of further relaxation of the rules has sparked optimism among investors that the world's second biggest economy would regather strength, and help to boost global growth.
The Chinese yuan has risen about 5% against the dollar since early November on expectations of an eventual reopening of China's economy.
But on the ground, many people have been slow to adapt to the changing rules. Commuter traffic in major cities such as Beijing and Chongqing has remained at a fraction of normal levels.