Zhong Nanshan

China has been successful in its zero-contamination strategy against Covid-19 domestically but will have to keep its borders closed as long as the virus is raving around in the rest of the world. Leading virus expert  Zhong Nanshan suggested this weekend in state-media border control might relax when 80 to 85 percent of the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens are vaccinated, expected at the end of this year and diverts from the current zero-transmission policy.

Zhong Nanshan reported his opinion in the Southern People Weekly on Sunday 3 October and requoted in other state media like the Global Times. The possible change in the Covid-19 strategy was covered in high praise for China’s policies up to now. China is expected to reach a high enough level of vaccination at the end of 2021.

“Zhong believed the criterion for China to generally relax border control is 80 to 85 percent overall vaccinated. He noted that after effective vaccination, most people would show no or mild symptoms if infected,” said the Global Times.

The statement comes at a time when other countries are contemplating a third booster shot for vaccines that are considered to be more effective than current Chinese vaccines. A large part of the world population has not yet received a high enough level of protection. Also, opinions inside China seem to differ as many larger cities are currently setting up huge quarantine centers for traveling from outside the country.

At the China Speakers Bureau, we currently expect a resumption of international travel – and our business – not before the second half of 2022, even if Zhong Nanshan suggestion will become formal policy. At this stage also for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 2022, heavy-handed quarantine policies will be maintained. For our industry, a lead time of three to six months after the resumption of international travel has to be expected.

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