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The Wall Street Journal: China to maintain pandemic border restrictions for another year

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Beijing is planning to keep its pandemic border restrictions in place for at least another year as officials fret over the emergence of new variants and a calendar of sensitive events, according to people familiar with the matter, despite a coronavirus vaccination campaign that has topped 1 billion doses.

The provisional timeline of the second half of 2022 was set during a mid-May meeting of the country’s cabinet, or State Council, attended by officials from China’s Foreign Ministry and National Health Commission, among other government bodies, one of the people said.

The cautious attitude is being driven by a pair of events that officials are eager to have go off without a hitch next year: the Winter Olympics in February and a once-a-decade power transition within the ruling Chinese Communist Party toward the end of the year. At the Communist Party Congress, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is widely expected to seek an additional term beyond the customary two-term limit.

By largely restricting new visas to those who have received a Chinese vaccine and maintaining requirements for an enforced hotel quarantine of at least 14 days upon arrival, Chinese officials have sought to neutralize risks from imported cases, the people said.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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