As many Chinese embraced new found freedoms on Thursday after the country dropped key parts of its tough zero-COVID regime, some cities warned residents to maintain vigilance against a virus that, until now, has been largely kept in check.
Three years into the pandemic, many in China had been itching for Beijing to start to align its rigid virus prevention measures with the rest of the world, which has largely opened up in an effort to live with the disease.
Those frustrations boiled over into widespread protests last month, the biggest show of public discontent since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
Without saying it was a response to the protests, some cities and regions began relaxing COVID controls, in moves that heralded a nationwide loosening of the rules unveiled by the National Health Commission on Wednesday.
The NHC said infected people with mild symptoms can now quarantine at home and it dropped the need for testing and health status apps for a variety of activities including travelling around the country.