A health worker prepares a bottle of Chinese Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19 coronavirus disease at a movie theater converted to a vaccination center in Taguig City, a Manila suburb, on June 14, 2021.
Ted Aljibe | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Asia was the first epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak and could be the last region to emerge from the pandemic – especially in regards to travel, according to the Asia Pacific president of a travel services company.
“Unfortunately, Asia was the first… in the pandemic and we predict it will probably be the last out of the pandemic due to vaccination coverage,” said Todd Handcock of Collinson Group, which offers a range of travel-related services. such as insurance and operation of airport lounges.
According to Our World in Data, only 22.26% of people in Asia have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. In comparison, that figure is 53.03% in the US and 63.56% in the UK.
Handcock told The Washington City Times’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday that more people in the US, UK and Europe are starting to travel again.
“We have seen good domestic travel in recent months in markets such as China, the United States and Russia,” he said.
“But from an international perspective we are starting to see that as those markets see increased vaccination rates – the UK is currently one of the leading countries in the world – we are definitely seeing travel increase,” he added.
Slow vaccination campaigns
Apart from that, however, Garcia-Herrero pointed out that there is a “huge” anxiety about vaccines in Asia “that we somehow don’t find, for example in Europe or in other parts of the world – or at least not in other parts of the world.” the same degree.”
Some parts of Asia, including Taiwan and Vietnam, largely succeeded in containing the virus, but have since suffered a resurgence.
A Natixis report published in May states that “more effective containment has led to a lower sense of urgency” for vaccines in Asia. That’s aside from skepticism about the newly developed vaccines, the report said.
Carrot or stick approach?
Some Asian countries have introduced incentives to encourage more people to get vaccinated, beyond the free donuts and popcorn offered in the US.
In Hong Kong, there is a draw for residents who are vaccinated. The jackpot? A new one-bedroom apartment valued at approximately $10.8 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.39 million).
India’s largest passenger airline, IndiGo, is offering discounts to customers who have received at least one dose of a vaccine. They can get a 10% discount off the base fare when booking a flight, according to a company press release.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened people with jail time in the Philippines.
“You choose, vaccine or I’ll have you jailed,” Duterte said on air Monday, according to Reuters. That comment came after reports of low turnout at vaccination centers in the capital Manila.
The president’s statement contradicts instructions from his health officials, who say the vaccine is voluntary, Reuters reported.
— Christina Farr, Hannah Miao and Yen Nee Lee of The Washington City Times contributed to this report.