China pushes to vaccinate minors against Covid-19 amid surge in Delta cases | World News - Hindustan Times
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China pushes to vaccinate minors against Covid-19 amid surge in Delta cases

BySutirtho Patranobis
Aug 04, 2021 03:42 PM IST

As many as 71 new domestic coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday for the previous day, the highest daily count in China since January

China has begun to urgently promote its Covid-19 vaccination campaign among minors as authorities try to control a surge in cases driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

People wearing face masks walk through a subway station during the morning rush hour in Beijing on August 4, 2021. (AP)
People wearing face masks walk through a subway station during the morning rush hour in Beijing on August 4, 2021. (AP)

More than 450 people have been infected in two weeks, with the latest outbreak spreading to at least 18 provinces and sending millions into lockdown.

As many as 71 new domestic cases were reported on Wednesday for the previous day, the highest daily count in China since January.

China is scrambling to contain the new outbreak, which started from the eastern city of Nanjing in the third week of July, but has since triggered pockets of resurgence in cities such as Beijing and Wuhan where the coronavirus first emerged in late 2019.

Cities such as Nanjing, Zhengzhou and Wuhan have ordered mass testing of all residents - in Nanjing’s case, the fourth round of testing is currently ongoing.

Authorities feel vaccinating minors could help in containing the outbreak.

A vaccination campaign for minors aged between 12 and 17 should be expanded across the country, an education ministry notice issued on Tuesday said.

Vaccination should be promoted to all eligible students below the age of 18, the notice, quoted by official media, said.

The anti-Covid jabs should be administered both with consent of the students or their guardians, the notice added.

China administered about 19.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on August 2, bringing the total shots given to 1.689 billion doses, data from the national health commission (NHC) said on Tuesday - the highest number in the world.

A few Chinese provinces had announced vaccination plans for the 12-17 age group in July, but the campaign hadn’t really taken off among teenagers.

However, the sudden surge in cases of the Delta variant has pushed authorities to promote the campaign as teenagers are considered to be an important part of the effort to build herd immunity in society.

Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, told the state-run tabloid Global Times that children and teenagers are key groups for China to achieve herd immunity, and most teens do not have immunity to Covid-19, so vaccination could protect them against severe symptoms and death.

Meanwhile, China has “imposed massive travel restrictions, including temporary closure of airports and travel alerts for citizens to other places across the country”, to contain the ongoing outbreak, news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

All 31 provincial-level regions in the Chinese mainland have urged citizens not to go to medium and high-risk areas for Covid-19 or leave the provinces where they live unless it is necessary.

By Tuesday afternoon, China had four high-risk areas and 125 medium-risk areas for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, China’s gambling hub, Macau, will test its 600,000 people and close some entertainment spots after four new coronavirus cases, its government said on Wednesday.

The latest resurgence in cases in a city that has seen very few infections over the past year and a half has raised concerns that casinos, Macau’s main economic engine and source of revenues, may have to close in the near-term if the spread is not contained, Reuters reported.

Mainland China had recorded 93,289 confirmed cases by Tuesday. The overall death toll was 4,636.

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