Elderly Chinese neglected by authorities amid new Omicron variant threat

Jul 07, 2022

Beijing [China], July 7 : Elderly Chinese people are being neglected by the authorities despite the detection of the new Omicron subvariant recently in the country.
China, where COVID-19 was first detected, has been witnessing a new surge in cases and authorities have ramped up efforts to boost vaccination rates.
In Beijing, residents are already required to show proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours to enter all public places. The city has also required people who work in epidemic prevention and control, health care, public transport, delivery and other higher risks sectors to be fully vaccinated. As of January, 98 per cent of Beijing's over 20 million residents have been fully vaccinated, including 12 million people who have received a booster shot, according to a government statement cited by CNN.
But the vaccination rate among the elderly is lower. As of April, 80 per cent of Beijing residents over 60 had been vaccinated, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The fact that several elderly people over the age of 60 have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 in China might be a deliberate action by the authorities to leave the aged people out of the protection radar, considering them to be a burden on its economy.
In spite of having ample medical resources like hospital beds and antiviral pills, a vast majority of elderly people over 60 years have not been vaccinated as of yet, The Hong Kong Post had earlier reported.
Last month, it was reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that there are still more than 90 million people aged over 60 who are under-vaccinated, defined as having had fewer than three shots.
On Wednesday, China enforced a lockdown in Xian, home to 13 million people after the city reported the first cases of a new Omicron subvariant. The lockdown was implemented after Xian reported 18 COVID-19 infections from Saturday to Monday, all of which are of the Omicron BA.5.2 subvariant, according to local disease control officials, reported CNN.
BA.5.2 is a sub-lineage of BA.5, which is already dominant in the US and appears to escape antibody responses among both people previously infected with COVID-19 and those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, according to researchers.
It is the first time the subvariant has been reported in China, one of the last places in the world still adhering to a stringent zero-Covid policy.
On Tuesday, Xian officials announced sweeping restrictions that would lock down parts of the city for seven days starting from Wednesday, reported CNN.
Chinese mainland reported 94 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours including 39 in Anhui and 32 in Shanghai, media reported citing the country's health commission on Thursday.