China will allow in foreigners from several more countries as long as they have had one of the Chinese vaccines. After Hong Kong annouced last week that visas will start being processed again for foreigners who have had a Chinese vaccine, the embassies of 20 more countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, Iraq and the Philippines, say the same scheme has been extended to them.
Source: Serhat Beyazkaya
The requirements vary slightly by country, according to a report in British newspaper the Guardian, but the majority of the embassies in question say that visa procedures will return to pre-Covid measures for applicants inoculated with Chinese vaccines. In most cases, this would do away with the need for a letter of invitation from China and a health and travel declaration from the country of application.
Those applying will be required to have taken two doses of a Chinese vaccine or one-dose of the new single-dose option at least 14 days before traveling. Travelers will, however, still need a negative Covid test and to quarantine on arrival in China, the newspaper reports.
However, as the Chinese vaccines are not approved for use and therefore unavailable in several of the countries named, there are suggestions that Beijing is using the scheme as a way to push these countries into green-lighting the Chinese products. China is also not currently accepting applicants inoculated with foreign vaccines, including those approved by the WHO.
The Chinese government now has five vaccines approved for general or emergency use, including three that have been distributed to other countries, either as part of trade of aid programs. None have so far been approved by the WHO, however.
China’s Sinovac vaccine is currently available in Hong Kong, where the first changes to the visa process were announced, as well as in Thailand, Iraq, the Philippines, and several others countries that can now enjoy easier access. China is, however, yet to publish trial data on its vaccines, and efficacy rates vary wildly among the mainly Asian, African and South American countries that have already rolled them out to their populations.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied that China was trying to push other countries to recognize its vaccines via the new visa scheme. “This is an arrangement made by the Chinese side unilaterally. It is a different thing from vaccine recognition,” he said.
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Keywords: China to allow in foreigners with Chinese vaccine
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