Beijing abandons plan to tighten Covid vaccine requirements

Beijing city officials have relaxed a plan requiring Covid vaccinations to enter some public places and said a negative test for the virus is sufficient. Pictured 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 demand Covid vaccinations seems to have ended before it even started.

On Wednesday, the capital Beijing has announced that most people will need to be vaccinated from Monday. before entering public places such as gyms.

On Thursday, the city removed mention of the mandate. state local newspaper Beijing Daily.

The report quoted an official from the city’s virus prevention and control department as highlighting the current regulations – a negative test for the virus in the last 72 hours – for entering public places. But the report does not mention a vaccination requirement, only saying that a government spokesman urged people to get vaccinated voluntarily.

A Beijing government spokesman who contacted CNBC confirmed the Beijing Daily report. The capital reported no new Covid cases for Thursday, with or without symptoms.

The state newspaper said it contacted the government agency after the vaccination mandate sparked “attention and fear” among city residents, according to a CNBC translation of a Chinese text.

The Beijing Daily’s initial report on Wednesday generated a lot of comments on WeChat.

The most popular comments asked how someone can prove they are “not eligible” for the Covid vaccine, especially in difficult situations for the elderly or pregnant. Others asked for clarification on which public places are classified as “meeting places” and whether they include railway stations. Still others noted problems with the inability to integrate vaccination records from Hong Kong or other countries into the Beijing City health code system.

In China, as a rule, only vaccines made in China by Sinopharm or Sinovac are available to the public.