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Beijing mandates COVID vaccines for some spaces

AP – The Chinese capital has issued a mandate requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before they can enter some public spaces including gyms, museums and libraries, drawing concern from city residents over the sudden policy announcement and its impact on their daily lives.

The health app that shows a person’s latest PCR test results has been updated to make it easier to also access their vaccination status, according to spokesperson for Beijing’s municipal health commission Li Ang.

The list of public places requiring vaccination does not include restaurants and offices. The mandate will go into effect on Monday, with exceptions available only to those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons.

“In the normalisation of COVID-19 pandemic controls, getting vaccinated is still the most effective measure at controlling the spread of COVID-19,” Li said in an announcement on Wednesday.

More than 23 million people in Beijing have been vaccinated, Li said, which if accurate would cover the city’s entire population and more. A 2020 census found that Beijing was home to some 22 million long-term residents. It is unclear what makes up the discrepancy in the numbers. The Beijing government did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on the new measures.

Li said that more than 3.6 million people over 60 years old have been vaccinated. He did not say if they received two shots or three.

A vaccine mandate is not unusual and some major cities in the United States (US) required proof of vaccination for entry into restaurants at some point during the pandemic.

However, those mandates did not include spaces like libraries. Few places in the US now actively require proof of vaccination to enter. Most US cities have also rolled back social distancing measures that were implemented in 2020. Certain spaces, like hospitals, still mandate proof of vaccination.

Many countries around the world still require proof of vaccination for arrivals. However, vaccine mandates in daily life have been largely rolled back internationally as countries seek to live with the virus.

A woman holds a parasol in the central business district in Beijing. PHOTO: AP
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