Beijing's National Health Commission announces that it will "accelerate the vaccination rate for people over 80, and continue with the 60-79 age groups".

A special working group will be established for the purpose.

Fewer than 66 percent of Chinese over 80 are fully vaccinated, the commission stated at a press conference.

There is no mRNA vaccine approved for general use in the country yet.

During Tuesday, 38,421 new cases of infection were reported, which is slightly less than during the weekend's record numbers.

Barriers are removed

Some virus restrictions are also being eased in an attempt to quell recent growing protests against the country's zero-virus policy and strict covid restrictions.

Among other things, cordons will no longer be set up in neighborhoods in Beijing where new cases of infection are detected, the city's authorities announce.

Passages must be kept open for medical transportation, emergency and rescue situations, said Wang Daguang, in charge of epidemic control in the city.

In the industrial city of Guangzhou, all residents no longer need to undergo mass testing.

Quiet in big cities

Heavy police presence and cold weather have caused major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai to fall silent on Tuesday, following widespread demonstrations.

During the weekend, the protests spread to several cities, after ten people died in a fire in the city of Ürümqi.

Many claim that the restrictions worsened the consequences of the apartment fire.

But several demonstrations planned for Monday and Tuesday fizzled, and journalists in major cities noted hundreds of police and vehicles on the streets.

There are reports that people's mobile phones are checked when they are stopped.

People who participated in demonstrations this weekend state that they received calls from the authorities, who demanded that they account for their actions.

It is unclear how many people have been arrested in connection with the protests.

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How do the authorities handle the protests?

How big is it?

And why have they broken out?

- Hear former Asia correspondent Ulrika Bergsten.