Millions of Chinese people face bans from public spaces including schools, hospitals and shopping malls unless they get a Covid-19 vaccine, under new edicts covering nearly two dozen cities and counties.
The coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, but since then the country has largely brought it under control -- and Beijing is determined to keep it that way.
The tough new rules, which follow the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant across Asia, will be imposed on numerous second-tier cities in a possible marker of what is to come for the whole country.
China has a national target of inoculating 64% of its 1.4 billion population by end of the year, and new measures suggest high levels of coercion. In Chuxiong city in the southern province of Yunnan -- home to about 510,000 people -- all residents above the age of 18 need to get at least one dose of the vaccine by July 23, according to a government notice posted late Wednesday.
Those who fail to meet the deadline "will not be allowed to enter public facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, kindergartens and schools, libraries, museums, and prisons or take public transport", the notice said.