Worried by the recent emergence of localised outbreaks, a growing number of local authorities in China have decreed that children between the ages of three and 11 must receive the vaccine. The decision has been made in light of China’s zero-tolerance policy towards any further outbreaks, coupled with the rapidly approaching Beijing Winter Olympics, set to take place in February next year. The South China Morning Post has the story.
The expansion of the vaccination campaign comes as parts of China take new clampdown measures to try to stamp out small outbreaks. Gansu, a north-western province heavily dependent on tourism, closed all tourist sites on Monday after finding new Covid cases. Residents in parts of Inner Mongolia have been ordered to stay indoors due to an outbreak there.
The National Health Commission reported 35 new cases of local transmission had been detected over the past 24 hours, four of them in Gansu. Another 19 cases were found in the Inner Mongolia region, with others scattered around the country.
China has employed lockdowns, quarantines and compulsory testing for the virus throughout the pandemic and has largely stamped out cases of local infection while fully vaccinating 1.07 billion people in its population of 1.4 billion.
In particular, the Government is concerned about the spread of the more contagious Delta variant by travellers and about having a largely vaccinated public ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. Overseas spectators have already been banned from the Games, and participants will have to stay in a bubble separating them from people outside.