Jul 20, 2021 • 9M

Dawn chorus: China may not open for years

China stranded with less effective vaccines others won't recognise for vaccine passports, which means China may be locked off for years; Debate grows over structural separation of power gentailers

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Bernard Hickey and friends explore the political economy together.
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TLDR & TLDL: The latest Delta wave of Covid infections is upsetting hopes for a fast global economic recovery and expectations overseas of higher interest rates. But there may be a bigger issue for those hoping China’s tourists and workers will start travelling again, or that they’ll be able to travel to China to restart in-person marketing.

China may have locked itself off from visitors and its residents may not be able to travel for tourism or work for years to come because of its vaccine strategy and the problem the rest of the world will have recognising China’s vaccines.

China has vaccinated more than half its population with its own Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, which are 50% and 79% effective respectively. But China has yet to approve the European and US vaccines, and EU and US authorities have yet to approve the Chinese vaccines. Hopes for useful vaccination passports will be in vain while each block doesn’t recognise or officially use each others’ vaccines.

The current standoff between China’s vaccination sphere and the rest of the world’s will make the return of travel to and from China challenging. Photo: TheKaka

Also, other countries in Asia who have used the Chinese vaccines, are beginning to drop them and use others, partly because of rising infection and death rates from the Delta variant, even for those vaccinated with Sinovac and Sinopharm.

Thailand changed its vaccine policy last week so that people receiving two Sinovac shots will now get a mix of Sinovac and AstraZeneca. Thailand’s healthcare workers who are already fully vaccinated with Sinovac will also get a different jab as a booster shot. (BBC). Indonesia moved the previous week to giving Moderna booster shots to healthcare workers immunised with Sinovac after reports that hundreds of fully vaccinated healthcare workers had caught Covid, including two in Thailand and 30 in Indonesia who died.

Many New Zealand businesses are hoping to resume visits to China to bolster marketing and trade efforts, while universities and others hoping for Chinese students and tourists will return soon. That is very unlikely with the current standoff between China’s vaccination sphere and the rest of the world’s.

Mounting debate over gentailer structural separation

Meanwhile, further to my podcast last week calling for structural separation of gentailers to improve competition, the debate has intensified with former smelter boss Kerry McDonald adding to those calls (see more via Hamish Rutherford’s article in the NZ Herald).

He described the industry as Government-mandated extortion.

"The restructure was a complete disaster in almost every respect. The fact that we haven't built a new hydro station for 40 years is criminal." Kerry McDonald 

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