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Beijing Rolls Out China’s First Ever COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

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Beijing residents wanting to enter a raft of public places will need to show proof of vaccination from Monday, the first time China has deployed a vaccine mandate, as the city rushes to quash a new outbreak caused by a more infectious subvariant.

The city will require live performances, entertainment venues such as movie theaters, museums, and gyms, as well as training and tutoring locations, to restrict entry to people who are vaccinated, Li Ang, deputy director at the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.

Read more: China’s Deepening Showdown with COVID-19

The requirement will also apply to medical staff, people working in community service operations, home furnishing operators, express delivery providers, and conference attendees. They’ll need to have received a booster shot to continue as normal, Li said. There will be exemptions for people who don’t qualify for vaccination.

Officials have turned to a mandate, which has been deployed in countries across the world, as it rushes to stamp out virus transmission. Authorities are also keen to boost vaccination rates, especially for people aged 60 or older whose reluctance around immunization has become a key factor in keeping China stuck in its strict Covid Zero approach.

Read more: China’s Zero-COVID Policy Is Causing An Economic Crisis

Elderly people living in care homes and anyone wanting to visit an entertainment venue were urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Care-home staff and visitors should get booster shots, as should tourists, Li said. The city’s health code—the system that controls people’s movements—will be updated to show vaccination status more prominently, he said.

The city will maintain a requirement for people to get tested at least every three days to enter all public venues.

Beijing’s elderly vaccination rate is above 80%, while Shanghai lags behind at 70%. Nearly 90% of the country’s total 1.4 billion population are fully vaccinated with homegrown shots.

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