Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
China is ramping up vaccination efforts after a slow start, prompted in part by the virtual elimination of domestic transmission. Just two local cases were reported on Wednesday, both in the city of Ruili, which borders on Myanmar.
Center of Disease Control official Cui Gang told a news conference that key areas and members of the population were being prioritised for vaccines. China has approved five domestically produced vaccines and exported millions of doses, although some scientists believe they provide less protection that those by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
China has approved five domestically produced vaccines and exported millions of doses.
The Chinese vaccines have an efficacy range of 50.7% to 79.3%, based on company data, lower than their foreign peers but still effective.
China is now giving millions of shots a day and a top government doctor, Zhong Nanshan, has announced a goal of vaccinating 560 million of the country’s 1.4 billion people by mid-June.
China locked down the city of Wuhan for more than two months starting in January 2020 after the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019. Wuhan became known as the epicenter of the pandemic, although Beijing has suggested the virus might have been circulating earlier and possibly brought to China from abroad.
Since then, China has controlled the virus through stringent border controls and quick lockdowns whenever new outbreaks crop up. Mask wearing indoors remains almost universal and health tracing applications must be shown at most shops, offices and public buildings.
While China was the first major economy to throw off the effects of the virus, the restrictions are seen as limiting its further growth, particularly as Beijing readies to welcome tens of thousands of visitors as host of the Winter Olympics in February 2022.
Along with the sheer scale of the vaccination effort, authorities need to convince a population that largely no longer feels threatened by infection.
"At present, vaccination efforts in key areas and key population groups are progressing smoothly overall," Cui told reporters at Wednesday's briefing. Already, 80% of workers in the health sector have received the jab, Cui said.
The certificate issued by China will have details about the holder’s COVID-19 vaccination information and coronavirus test results, the Department of Consular Affairs under China’s foreign ministry said on its website.
Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of Infosys, said Asia’s economic recovery is not far away, provided the pace of vaccination is increased so the region arrives at a herd immunity.
The drive will begin with a focus on the oldest people in the community, generally over the age of 80, Health Minister Faisal Sultan said. "We will work our way down in coming days," Health Minister Faisal Sultan said.
Esper's comments come at a time when some US officials have blamed China for the coronavirus outbreak. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday Washington had evidence the disease emerged from a Chinese lab, which Beijing strongly denies.
According to the statement, the prayer spots will be opened 30 minutes before prayer and will be closed instantly after it, while the women's prayer places will be closed until further notice.
A team of Tibetan mountaineering guides will set up the separation line at the peak before climbers attempt to reach the summit from the Chinese side, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It was not clear what the separation line would be made of.
Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sputnik vaccines are provided at approved centres across the UAE.