The Chinese government has announced that it will ease entry restrictions for some foreign visitors, but under one condition: they have to be vaccinated with a Chinese-made vaccine.
Earlier this week, Chinese embassies around the world issued notices on how foreigners can go about applying for a visa, but under the proviso that they be inoculated with one of China’s five locally manufactured vaccines. Non-vaccinated visitors can still apply for a visa, but must demonstrate stronger reasons for wanting to enter the country.
Although 34 countries have approved at least one of China’s vaccines, none have been approved for use in Ireland, and only one – Sinopharm – has been approved within the EU, and then only in Hungary. By contrast, the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine has so far been approved in 72, just two fewer than those that have green-lit the Astra-Zeneca jab.
On Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian rejected the notion that China’s visa policies were linked to the recognition of Chinese vaccines, and said that China was ready to discuss “mutual recognition” of Covid-19 vaccines with other countries.
The new instructions, however, do not appear on the Chinese Embassy to Ireland’s designated website, with all visa information still dating from 2019.