China steps up COVID-19 vaccination for key groups ahead of holiday season

By: |
January 5, 2021 7:43 PM

Meanwhile, Beijing has extended the COVID-19 observation period for inbound travellers to 21 days following sporadic locally-transmitted cases.

China on Thursday last week granted conditional approval to its first homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.China on Thursday last week granted conditional approval to its first homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.

More Chinese cities have begun mass COVID-19 vaccinations after the New Year holidays, days after China granted conditional approval for its domestically produced vaccine as the country prepares for the Spring Festival holiday next month.

Given the goal of vaccinating 50 million people ahead of the Spring Festival, which also marks the Chinese New Year holidays, a number of cities — including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province, Luliang and Linyi — have already started mass inoculations of the vaccine, covering nine key groups of people, the state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday.

The vaccination drive is taking place amid reports of sporadic COVID-19 cases in different cities.

China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday said 33 new COVID-19 cases were reported from the Chinese mainland on Monday.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 87,183 by Monday, including 432 patients undergoing treatment.

A total of 82,117 patients had been discharged from hospitals following recovery on the mainland, and 4,634 had died of the virus, the report said.

Beijing, meanwhile, has so far vaccinated 73,537 people across 220 inoculation venues since the mass vaccinations began on Friday, it said.

China on Thursday last week granted conditional approval to its first homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.

The Chinese government said it will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all citizens.

When some Western media outlets continue to question the safety and efficacy of Chinese-made vaccines after China’s top regulator officially approved it on Thursday for general use with conditions such as age restrictions and health status, more countries, including Indonesia and Egypt, embraced COVID-19 vaccines produced by Chinese manufacturers, the Global Times report said.

Meanwhile, Beijing has extended the COVID-19 observation period for inbound travellers to 21 days following sporadic locally-transmitted cases.

Recently, there have been cases in Beijing and other cities across the country in which inbound travellers were confirmed as COVID-19 patients after 14 days of isolated observation and this led to a rebound in indigenous cases, Xu Hejian, a spokesperson for the Beijing municipal government told media here on Tuesday.

To prevent the risk of infection caused by people with an extremely long incubation period, Beijing has decided to tighten health management measures for inbound travellers, Xu said.

According to the measures issued by the municipal government, when people, items or environment on an inbound flight are found positive by customs or are diagnosed positive during isolated observation, passengers who took the same flight should be under isolation or stay at home for another seven days after a 14-day observation period.

For those who do not test positive at the customs-entry stage or during the observation period, health monitoring will be strictly implemented for another seven days after the 14-day observation. Meanwhile, inbound travellers may enter Beijing 21 days after they enter China at another port of entry.

Currently, a total of 2.59 million nucleic acid tests have been conducted in Beijing, including the districts of Shunyi and Chaoyang, since a rebound in the indigenous cases, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

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