In addition, restrictions are not only imposed on incoming travelers, but also on imported products (人物并防). On November 9, the State Council issued the "Work Plan of Preventive Comprehensive Disinfection of Imported Cold Chain Foods", to prevent the possibility of cross-border Covid-19 transmission through cold chain foods. This comes shortly after cases related to imported cold chain foods have been identified in Tianjin and Beijing. The plan requires complete disinfection and testing of imported cold-chain foods at the port, and records of those foods have to be kept for at least two years to ensure their traceability. The imports from companies that had products testing positive will be suspended for one week for the first two times, and for four weeks starting from the third time.
As a precautionary measure, in the Zhejiang province, free influenza vaccination is offered to elderly people over 70, to reduce the risk of having the transmission of influenza, which occurs more in the fall and winter, and Covid-19 at the same period. Learning from the experience of the initial outbreak, efforts have also been placed on upgrading fever clinics to strengthen Covid prevention and control capacity. Chinese cities are getting ready for possible small local clusters in the winter and spring seasons. Upgraded fever clinics in Beijing are now equipped with independent CT scan rooms, isolated wards and nucleic acid test labs, and are divided into safe, contaminated and semi-contaminated zones to prevent infections in the hospital.
The Covid-19 vaccine is now made available for ordinary people in some places. For instance, in Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces, the vaccine is priced at 200 RMB per dose. Epidemic prevention personnel dispatched overseas are also inoculated before departing from China. Inoculation in China started on July 22 (and in some cases even earlier) under the Chinese Vaccine Administration Law, which authorizes emergency vaccination for special groups of people such as medical personnel, epidemic prevention personnel, border inspectors and those who guarantee basic urban operations. To date, none of the Chinese vaccines has completed phase 3 clinical trials. However, the production capacity of vaccines is being ramped up, as it happened at the beginning of the year with the production of masks. According to the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council, China’s annual Covid-19 vaccine production capacity is expected to reach 610 million doses by the end of this year. The goal is to continue to expand the capacity to meet both the domestic and international needs for the Chinese vaccine. Furthermore, a recent China Briefing op-ed even suggests that Chinese guidelines on vaccination in case of significant clusters are in the making.
From a Chinese to a global health QR code?
To facilitate the monitoring and verification of individuals when resuming work and other activities, Chinese tech giants (Tencent and Alibaba) have developed the "Health Code" system with the data support of central and local governments. Users are provided with a QR and color (red, yellow or green) code to prove their eligibility for "free movement". However, the central government allowed different cities and provinces to have their own applications that target adequately the local situation.