The People’s Republic of China plans to offer visas to foreign nationals that have been inoculated with a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine. This is a signal that the country is beginning to reopen to foreign tourism after more than a year of lockdown.
Like the rest of the world, China has closed its borders to arrivals from abroad since the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the world. The borders have remained closed since March. From that month on, foreigners that work in China or has family living in the country have been stranded in many countries abroad.
Chinese nationals have also been stranded in many countries, including Thailand.
However, Chinese embassies recently have been posting updates informing the public that people vaccinated against the COVID-19 using a Chinese-made jab can now apply for visas to reenter the country for the first time since 2020.
For instance, the Chinese embassy in the United States posted a statement that they will be allowing foreigners that want to travel to China for work, business, or for visiting family members to start applying for the relevant visas.
However, they must be inoculated with any of the two COVID-19 vaccines made in China.
One of the vaccines accepted is the CoronaVac, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company SInovac Biotech. The vaccine uses dead virus particles to train the body’s immune system to recognize and attack the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thailand is currently administering 200,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine in the first phase of its immunization program. The Kingdom expects to receive a further 800,000 doses next week from Sinovac, with a final batch expected in April consisting of 1 million doses.
In addition to Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey and Indonesia have received and are now using the Sinovac vaccine in their vaccination campaigns.
The Philippines has received 600,000 doses from China two weeks ago, while Indonesia has received 1.2 million doses out of a total of 50-million dose order.
The other vaccine is manufactured by Sinopharm, a state-owned pharmaceutical company. Sinopharm has been approved for emergency use by the United Arab Emirates, whose experts state that the vaccine was 86% effective in its phase three trials.
Indonesia also ordered 60 million doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Both of these vaccines have been widely distributed in China in addition to orders from various countries like Thailand.
The Chinese Embassy in the US states that visa applicants must have already received their two doses required of the vaccine. Furthermore, the last dose must have been administered at least two weeks before the date of their application.
Similar statements have been issued by Chinese embassies in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Italy and Sri Lanka.
Upon arriving in China, foreigners are expected to undergo a 21-day quarantine, which is a week longer than the quarantine periods prescribed by other countries like Thailand. The Kingdom currently requires 14 days of quarantine, but is planning to reduce the quarantine period in the wake of the availability of vaccines.