Beijing backtracks from plan to tighten COVID vaccine requirements

The city of Beijing has eased a plan that would require Covid vaccinations to enter some public places, and confirmed that a negative virus test was sufficient. Pictured here is a virus testing site in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

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BEIJING – China’s first large-scale attempt to order Covid vaccines appears to be over before it even begins.

On Wednesday, capital Beijing announced that from Monday, most people will need to be vaccinated Before entering social gathering places such as gyms.

And the city, Thursday, removed the mention of the authorization, according to the newspaper Local state-run newspaper, Beijing Daily.

The report quoted a member of the city’s Office of Virus Prevention and Control, who confirmed the current rules – a negative virus test in the past 72 hours – for entering public places. But the report did not mention the requirement of vaccination, only saying that the government representative encouraged people to voluntarily vaccinate.

When contacted by CNBC, a representative of the Beijing city government confirmed the Beijing Daily report. The capital reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with or without symptoms.

The state-run newspaper said it contacted the government office after the vaccination mandate aroused “interest and suspicion” among city residents, according to CNBC’s translation of the Chinese text.

The Beijing Daily’s initial report on Wednesday sparked many comments on WeChat.

The most common comments questioned how someone could prove they were not “suitable” for a Covid vaccination – especially in complicated situations for the elderly or pregnant. Others asked for clarification of what public spaces were classified as “places for social gatherings” and whether that included train stations. Still others note problems with the inability to integrate vaccination records from Hong Kong or foreign countries into the Beijing City Health Code system.

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In China, only Chinese-made vaccines produced by Sinopharm or Sinovac are available to the public.

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