You may have read last week that one of China's top respiratory doctor's Zhong Nanshan suggested that China might want to consider re-opening when local vaccination rates reach between 80-85%.
But now China's head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is echoing this sentiment of re-opening. Combine this with some recent positive policy shifts, where family member's can now get PU letters, and Shanghai specifically accept WHO approved vaccines, we're seeing a trend that while cautious, is still positive.
Here is the positive news published today from China Daily:
China may open its borders after it vaccinates over 85 percent of its population by early 2022, said Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a recent interview.
The current epidemic control measures against COVID-19 in China have won a lot of time to produce enough vaccines and inoculate people, he told news outlet ifeng. If the vaccination rate can reach more than 85 percent in early 2022, there will be few infections and none of those infected would be in serious condition or die. Besides, the virulence of the coronavirus is also decreasing, according to Gao.
"By that time, why shouldn't we open up?" he said.
When the prevalence and fatality rate of COVID-19 are more like that of the flu, and it seems it would co-exist with humans, the efforts to root out the virus will be a protracted war, he said. "In that case, we should continue to vaccinate more people, develop new vaccines, and especially, produce effective drugs."
He added since it's still possible for vaccinated people to get infected, it's important for everyone to keep wearing masks, maintain social distancing and wash their hands frequently.
The State Council of China reports that about 78% of China's population are currently vaccinated against coronavirus as of mid-September so we aren't too far off from the 85% vax-rate. This comes as many world countries are shifting towards classifying COVID-19 from pandemic status to "endemic" (something we just end up living with).