Got both shots? Great, now please stay home. High vaccination rates may not be the passport to economic reopening and a thriving social life that we’d once hoped. As Asia’s inoculation drive recovers from a slow start, the revival of commerce is half-hearted at best. A shadow of 2019 may be the best we can aspire to.
More governments are proclaiming a transition to “living with Covid-19.” The virus won't go away, so the best we can do is vaccinate a high percentage of the population, the argument goes. But it remains to be seen what that means in practice. Singapore, where inoculation rates exceed 80%, has signalled only a limited appetite for coexistence with the infection.
Malaysia is gradually opening up after a horrendous few months, and Australian leaders have pledged greater freedoms as protection climbs. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has held out the prospect of families being able to make it across state borders for the year-end holidays.