Updated: March 17, 2021 7:01:59 am
Beijing has made it mandatory for people coming from India and 19 other countries to get themselves inoculated with Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccines if they wish to travel to China.
For Indian travellers, this condition is a problem because Chinese-made vaccines are not available in India.
A notice posted at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said: “For the purpose of resuming people-to-people exchanges in an orderly manner, starting from 15 March, 2021, the Chinese Embassies and Consulates in India will provide the persons having taken Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine and holding the Certificates of Vaccination.”
China’s state-run Global Times reported that such notices were put up by Chinese embassies in 20 countries including India, Pakistan, Australia, South Korea, Nigeria, Greece, Italy, Israel, Norway and Indonesia.
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An AFP report included the US in the list as well. It reported that the Chinese embassy in the US, in a statement Monday, said it would begin to process “visa applicants inoculated with Chinese Covid-19 vaccines”.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, asked about the rationale of the regulation to take Chinese vaccines in countries like India where China-made vaccines are not available, told a media briefing Tuesday that many countries have floated the idea of linking vaccination status with opening up international travels.
The PTI quoted Zhao saying: “Our proposal to facilitate the travel of those who have been inoculated with Chinese vaccines is made after thoroughly considering the safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines.”
“We believe this is a meaningful exploration of facilitating international travel once mass vaccination has been achieved. It is not linked to the recognition of Chinese vaccines,” he said.
Asked would it not be better if China recognised the vaccines endorsed by WHO, which is yet to approve the Chinese vaccines, Zhao said: “China’s proposal is a meaningful step. We are trying to facilitate international travel.”
“This is an arrangement made by the Chinese side unilaterally. It is a different thing from vaccine recognition,” he said.
The WHO has already approved Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being produced by the Serum Institute in Pune in the name of Covishield.
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