The city of Beijing has toned down a plan to require Covid vaccinations to enter certain public places and argued that a negative virus test was 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 appears to have ended before it began.
On Wednesday, the capital Beijing announced that from Monday most people would have to be vaccinated before entering places of social gathering like gymnasiums.
On Thursday, the city removed mention of the warrant, according to local state-run newspaper Beijing Daily.
The report quotes a member of the city’s virus prevention and control office as pointing out the current rules — a negative virus test in the last 72 hours — for entering public places. But the report did not mention compulsory vaccination, saying only that the government official encouraged people to get vaccinated voluntarily.
Contacted by CNBC, a Beijing city government official confirmed the Beijing Daily report. The capital reported no new Covid cases for Thursday, with or without symptoms.
The official newspaper said it contacted the government office after the vaccination mandate raised “attention and concern” among city residents, according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese text.
Beijing Daily’s initial report on Wednesday prompted a lot of comments on WeChat.
The most popular comments asked how someone would prove they were not ‘fit’ for Covid vaccinations – especially in complex situations for the elderly or pregnant. Others asked for clarification on public spaces classified as “places of social gathering” and whether that includes train stations. Still others noted issues with the inability to integrate vaccination records from Hong Kong or foreign countries into Beijing’s city health code system.
In China, only vaccines made in China by Sinopharm or Sinovac are generally available to the public.