China could allow international travel with fewer restrictions by Spring 2022 if vaccination targets within the country are met.
Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai’s COVID-19 clinical team, told South China Morning Post that restrictions could be eased if the country vaccinates 70% of the population by spring next year. He said this would provide China with an “immune barrier” and that they would then have to communicate with other countries regarding travel arrangements.
However, Zhang also warned that China risked falling behind other countries when it comes to per capita vaccination rates and that this could delay the easing of restrictions. The country has previously said that it aims to vaccinate 80% of its population by mid-2022.
As of April 7, China had administered almost 144 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, a per capita rate of 10.7 doses per 100 people. As of the same date, Israel had the highest per capita vaccination rate in the world with 112.5 doses administered per 100 people.
With vaccination programs underway around the world, many governments are devising plans to get international travel back to normal. It was previously suggested by the Chinese Center for Disease Control that US-China travel could get back to normal by August 2021, although this remains to be seen.
China has furthermore already started rolling out its ‘vaccine passport,’ formally known as the ‘international travel health certificate,’ for Chinese citizens. The WeChat mini-program allows overseas authorities to scan a QR code and confirm information regarding nucleic acid test results, vaccination, etc.
The latest news offers some light at the end of the tunnel for those inside and outside of China – just another step on the long road towards the pre-pandemic normality of international travel.
[Cover image via Unsplash]