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Jabs best tool to defeat virus and revive tourism sector

By Yao Yuxin | China Daily | Updated: 2021-08-07 08:57

Jin Ding / China Daily

Editor's Note: The new novel coronavirus outbreak and the fast spread of the virus across provinces have prompted many people to ask whether the vaccines are effective, especially against the Delta variant. The new outbreak has also dealt another blow to the already struggling tourism industry during summer vacation, a traditional travel peak season. Two experts share their views on the two issues with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Vaccines are effective, help reduce infections

Feng Duojia, chairman of the China Association for Vaccines

The main role of any vaccine is to strengthen the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of infection, and falling seriously ill in case one contracts a virus. Since the COVID-19 vaccine cannot completely prevent infection, a vaccinated person can still contract the novel coronavirus. Besides, the vaccine may not be able to boost the immunity level of some people due to different reasons.

More than 2 billion Chinese doses have been used to inoculate people worldwide. The vaccines' efficacy has been proven because the percentage of unvaccinated people infected by the virus is much higher than those who have been vaccinated. Plus, the World Health Organization has approved the two vaccines for emergency use.

Vaccination is an effective way of containing a pandemic. Vaccines have eradicated many diseases or drastically reduced their infection rates around the world over the decades.

As the COVID-19 vaccine is the most potent tool to help us reach herd immunity, everyone should volunteer to get vaccinated, so as to build an immunity barrier against the virus. Important though vaccination is, it is not the only thing that counts. People should strictly follow the prevention and control measures to ensure there are no more new outbreaks.

Although a few people still have doubts about the efficacy of the vaccines, more and more people are becoming aware of the key role vaccines play in containing diseases. However, the authorities should take measures to raise people's awareness of the importance of the vaccines in the fight against the novel coronavirus, and encourage more people to take the jabs to achieve herd immunity.

And while accelerating the vaccination process, it is also necessary to inform the public that there could be sporadic outbreaks. Inoculation does not mean the end of the epidemic. So the current prevention and control measures such as maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks, and quarantine must be strictly followed.

We hope tourism sector will recover soon

Jiang Yiyi, a professor at the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism, Beijing Sport University

The highly infectious Delta variant has spread from Nanjing, where the first new imported case was detected, to several parts of the country. The new outbreak will have the biggest impact on the tourism industry, which was expected to boom during the summer tourist season.

Thanks to the effective prevention and control measures, the number of tourists and tourism revenue during the International Workers' Day (May 1) and Dragon Boat Festival (June 14) holidays were close to the 2019 levels, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Besides, a report issued by Chinese tourism website Trip.com on July 12 said there was a drastic increase in bookings for group travel and self-guided tour. But the new outbreak will prompt the authorities to impose a series of restrictions to curb the flow of people, including reducing the number of entries to scenic spots, limiting the scale of performances, conferences and training programs, even banning such activities in places where the risk of infections is high. These measures will deal a massive blow to the tourism sector in August, the peak summer travel season.

But since the new outbreak is confined to certain pockets in some cities and provinces rather than being a full-blown wave of infections, the loss to the tourism industry could be limited to certain regions, mainly to the "hot zones". Furthermore, thanks to the year-and-a-half-long fight against the epidemic, governments at all levels, scenic spots and travel companies all have gained a wealth of experience and so are better prepared, materially, technically and mentally, to deal with the situation. And, hopefully, the outbreak will be brought under control within a relatively short time.

But since the pandemic is still to be contained in many parts of the world, the tourism industry has to prepare to cope with the new situation. Preventative measures such as ticket reservations, reducing the number entries to tourist sites, and electronic records of tourists' itineraries and health will continue to play a major role in the fight against the pandemic. With advanced technology, big data and increasing vaccination rates, the spring for tourism may not be too far away.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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