Daily Archives: July 7, 2021

China’s Vaccine Dilemma

China has reportedly “inoculated” mostly with one shot around 1.2 billion of its 1.3 billion-plus population but a debate is now stirring about next steps as the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads in the country’s south.

As total vaccinations in China near the size of the country’s population, the southern industrial powerhouse cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen are still on a wartime footing to contain the spread of the Delta strain.

However, there are divergent views on how best to proceed between the National Health Commission (NHC) and the Chinese National Center for Disease Control.

While China’s nationwide “immunization blitz” has seen the number of doses administered pass 1.2 billion, according to the NHC’s latest June 29 figures, the commission did not reveal how many have been fully inoculated with two shots. 

Xinhua cited NHC director Ma Xiaowei as saying that more than 100 million shots had been administered every five days since June. Beijing is aiming to rev up its roll-out to almost all residents, with an extra dose of urgency as it counted down to the previously stated end-of-June goal to fully vaccinate 40% and pave the way for herd immunity. 

NHC experts, including Dr Zhang Wenhong, the director of the NHC’s National Infectious Disease Medical Center in Shanghai, said the 40% goal was well within “touching distance,” even though the health authority was yet to release more figures. 

Read more at China’s vaccine dilemma laid bare with variant spread

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China’s New Tibetan Rail Tracks

The new railway from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to China’s border area has been up and running since last week. Photo: Xinhua

Tibet’s first fully electrified rail corridor extending from its capital Lhasa to the alpine region’s southwestern outpost of Nyingchi has been up and running since last week, a development that has likely contributed to an escalation of border tensions with India.

Chinese bullet trains will roar along the new link at 160 kilometers per hour less than 16 kilometers from the troubled and increasingly militarized Himalayan border region, according to a train dispatching and scheduling plan prepared by “China Railway Corp” (CRC) leaked over social media. 

The new line cuts through rugged snow-capped terrain and huge swathes of permafrost at an average elevation of about 3,000 meters. Beijing’s pedal-to-the-metal construction spree for Tibet also includes expanding the capacities of existing railway stations in Lhasa and Nyingchi. 

Travel times from Lhasa to the border city of Nyingchi, on the front line of the China-India military standoff and buildup, will be slashed from nine hours by road to about three hours. The rail artery runs in parallel with the Yaluzangbu River, the Chinese name of the Brahmaputra River in India that rises in Tibet.

Read more at China’s new Tibetan line tracks the Indian border

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