Rules have been relaxed for vaccinated foreign visa applicants looking to enter the Chinese mainland via Hong Kong.
However, there are several catches – the first being that the applicant must have had a jab from a vaccine produced in China.
Hong Kong announced starting March 15, foreign visa applicants who have been inoculated with a China-produced vaccine no longer need to present health certification like “proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result and the Health and Travel Record Declaration Form for Visa Application,” reports Global Times.
The new policy applies only to “foreign nationals and their family members visiting the Chinese mainland to resume work and production.” For more visa scenarios and FAQ click here.
Other groups who will have an easier time applying for a visa are those with emergency humanitarian needs and “holders of valid Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) business travel cards.”
As for the Chinese vaccine specifications, the applicant must “either have received two doses of Chinese-made vaccines with the stipulated gap in between, or... received a single-dose Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days prior to the application and succeeded in obtaining a vaccination certificate,” notes the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR.
This policy is a step forward in resuming travel between countries now that vaccines have rolled out worldwide. China aims to have 80% of its population vaccinated by mid-2022.
Experts have remarked that foreigners entering from Hong Kong are “proper places for China to conduct the trial program of the platform” and if successful will gradually promote the model to other port cities like Guangzhou.
As of March 10, “more than 60 countries have authorized the use of Chinese vaccines,” stated Zhao Lijian, a Chinese ministry spokesperson. Varying data from different countries have suggested that Sinovac’s efficacy rate is 50.4 to 78% effective, which is still helpful as it can prevent most severe cases.
[Cover image via Hakan Nural/Unsplash]