Beijing city mandates COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for some workers

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing city is demanding a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for some key workers, making it the first key Chinese metropolis to publicly articulate a booster mandate, as the country combats a fresh outbreak caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Having vaccinated about 76% of its 1.41 billion population with complete doses as of Oct. 23, China is pushing eligible people to get an additional injection, in a bid to strengthen immunity.

Key workers for construction sites, including cooks, security guards and cleaning personnel, can only be hired if they have received a booster dose, Ding Sheng, vice director at Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said on Thursday.

"[Sites] should pay close attention to the vaccination status of newly-recruited staffers, and make sure all eligible people are vaccinated," Ding told a presser.

Many local governments have urged "those who ought to be vaccinated" to take a booster, without making clear to the general public the consequences of not getting one.

Beijing city has stepped up its zero tolerance approach to the virus as fear grow whether it can safely host the 2022 Winter Olympics Games.

With only 23 local confirmed cases between Oct. 19-27, the city quickly sealed up residential compounds at risk, shut some schools and businesses, delayed its annual marathon and clamped down on restaurants and clinics that broke COVID rules.

A flurry of foreign language tests previously scheduled between Oct. 30-Nov. 30 in Beijing city have been cancelled because of virus concerns, China's education ministry said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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