Beijing orders COVID vaccines to enter some public spaces

Virus outbreak in China (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Chinese capital issued a mandate requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can enter some public spaces, including gyms, museums and libraries, with exceptions only available for those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons. .

The health app that displays a person’s latest PCR test results has been updated to make it easier to access their vaccination status, according to Li Ang, a spokesperson for the Beijing municipal health commission.

The list of public places that require vaccination does not include restaurants and offices. The mandate will go into effect on Monday.

“In the normalization of COVID-19 pandemic controls, getting vaccinated remains the most effective measure to control the spread of COVID-19,” Li said in an announcement on Wednesday.

More than 23 million people in Beijing have been vaccinated, Li said, which, if accurate, would cover the entire population of the city and more. A 2020 census found that Beijing was home to some 22 million long-term residents. It is not clear what constitutes the discrepancy in the numbers. The Beijing government did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on the new measures.

Li said that more than 3.6 million people over the age of 60 have been vaccinated. He did not say whether they were shot twice or three.

A vaccination mandate is not unusual and some major US cities required proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and bars at some point during the pandemic.

However, those mandates did not include spaces such as libraries. Few places in the US now actively require proof of vaccination for entry. Most US cities have also reversed social distancing measures that were put in place in the first year of the pandemic. Certain spaces, such as hospitals, still require proof of vaccination.

In Beijing and other cities in China, many government facilities already require people to show proof of vaccination before entering.

Online, the announcement sparked some anger and pointed questions. Social media users questioned how to get a certificate showing one is not eligible for vaccination, whether the unvaccinated can ride the subway, and other logistics of the new requirement.

Chen Yumei, a 48-year-old Beijing resident, said she has not yet been vaccinated because she was suffering from hives that doctors said made her unsuitable.

“Many doctors told me that I couldn’t, but who is going to give me the exception certification? Nobody dares to give you this certification,” she said.

“Something like this is too unreasonable,” Chen said. “We have already been cooperating with the PCR tests, no matter how hot it is or how long the line is.”

Another Beijing resident, Leo Zhang, said he was confused whether the new policy meant he needed a booster or whether two doses were enough. As a result, he plans to get a booster shot.

“At least for me, it doesn’t have a big impact, it’s just a booster,” said Zhang, who visits the gym regularly.

Others on social media shared an article from Xinhua, an official state media outlet, last year that quoted officials from the National Health Commission forbidding local governments to introduce policies that prevent people from entering places like supermarkets without vaccination test.

It is unclear how Beijing’s new directive will be implemented given national politics. There are already additional requirements for medical workers, delivery men and public transport employees, who must be fully vaccinated.


Associated Press news assistant Caroline Chen and researcher Yu Bing contributed to this report from Beijing.

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