Beijing imposes mainland China's first Covid vaccine mandate in face of Omicron subvariant

香港 Beijing on Wednesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for residents to enter public venues, becoming the first city in mainland 中国 to do so as it attempts to contain a highly infectious Omicron subvariant.

From July 11, people will need to show proof of vaccination to enter a wide range of public places in the Chinese capital, including cinemas, libraries, museums, ジム, stadiums and training centers, a city health official told a news briefing Wednesday.
People who arenot suitablefor vaccination will be exempted from the requirement, 関係者は付け加えた, without clarifying how they can provide proof for exemption.
    It also remains unclear how people who received vaccination overseas can satisfy the requirement. China’s health code systemswhich are used to show proof of vaccinationdo not currently recognize foreign vaccines, and those who were inoculated abroad have not been able to get their vaccinations registered.
      Places that have limited capacity or where reservations are needed are required to prioritize entry to vaccinated customers.
        Senior citizens visiting venues offering activities specifically for the elderly, such as recreational centers and game rooms, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, 関係者は言った.
        The vaccine mandate comes as Beijing reported three cases of the BA.5.2 Omicron subvariant, which is highly transmissible and capable of escaping antibodies. An outbreak of the new subvariant has already shut down the northwestern city of Xi’an, where entertainment, sports and religious venues have been closedand restaurants limited to takeaway and delivery servicesuntil next Wednesday.
          A medical worker takes a swab sample at a nucleic acid testing station in Beijing on July 6.

          Lag in elderly vaccination rate

          China remains an outlier for its continued zero-Covid approach, which has seen cities across the countryincluding Beijing and Shanghairecently placed under full or partial lockdown. The strategywhich relies on mass testing, quarantine and snap lockdowns to stamp out any resurgence of the virushas wrecked economic activity.
          Chinese authorities have ramped up efforts to boost vaccination rates, especially among the elderly population, since Omicron caused successive outbreaks this year.
          In Beijing, residents are already required to show proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours to enter all public places.
          The city has also required people who work in epidemic prevention and control, health care, public transport, delivery and other higher risks sectors to be fully vaccinated.
          As of January, 98% of Beijing’s over 20 million residents have been fully vaccinated, 含む 12 million people who have received a booster shot, according to a government statement.
          But the vaccination rate among the elderly is lower. 4月現在, 80% of Beijing residents over 60 had been vaccinated, state news agency Xinhua reported.
          Residents line up to get a throat swab at a testing site in Beijing, 七月に 4.

          On Chinese social media, users were quick to point out that Beijing’s vaccine mandate appeared to contradict national health authoritiesguidance that vaccination should be voluntary.
          When did voluntary vaccination become mandatory?” a comment asked on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
            Last September, the National Health Commission said it was wrong for local governments to impose restrictions on movement for unvaccinated people in order to speed up the inoculation campaignand that such policies should be corrected in a timely manner.
            Covid-19 vaccination should be based on the principles of informed consent, そして (なれ) voluntary,” Wu Liangyou, deputy head of the commission, told a news conference.