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What If China Never Reopens?

Eyck Freymann
 

For the last sixteen months, the world’s most populous country has kept its borders almost entirely closed. Visitors can usually enter China only for specific “business” purposes, and if they have received a Chinese vaccine. Students, non-essential workers, and family members have seen their visas rejected. Those who get approval must submit to a hotel quarantine lasting 14 to 21 days — plus humiliating, medically unnecessary, weekly anal swabs. Unsurprisingly, the flow of foreign visitors has slowed to a trickle.  China’s State Council reportedly plans to start reopening its borders in the second half of 2022. But this timeline is not credible. Covid-19 likely cannot ever be eradicated globally. And while China’s vaccine rollout has been extraordinary, Chinese vaccines barely work against the Delta variant, which is now dominant around the world. Reopening borders next year would therefore mean telling the Chinese people to tolerate infections and outbreaks after…

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