Asia: Thailand and Vietnam, two countries whose economies rely largely on tourism, are pushing to reopen their travel industries despite surges in coronavirus cases and outbreaks of the Delta variant.
Vietnam, which recently opened the island of Phu Quoc to fully vaccinated overseas tourists, is recording a daily average of 12,724 new cases, with just 4.9 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
In Thailand, fully vaccinated tourists can go to Bangkok and other popular destinations starting in October. The country is reporting about 14,000 new daily cases. In 2020, it registered fewer than 100 Covid-related deaths, but the toll in 2021 already exceeds 12,000.
Even in countries with fewer cases, Delta has been hard to tackle: China’s Fujian province reported 22 new locally transmitted infections, the country’s largest outbreak in a month. While the case count is far below many other countries, the number reflects what health experts have long warned: that it is probably nearly impossible to completely eradicate the Delta variant, and that Beijing needs to rethink its zero-Covid strategy.
Yanzhong Huang, a global health expert specializing in China, recently wrote in our Opinion section that “China can’t afford to keep its borders closed forever.”