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CE Lam bares plan to ease restrictions for vaccinated people

12 April 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says vaccinated people can eat, travel more freely

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has unveiled plans to boost incentives for residents who get vaccinated, including dining together in bigger numbers, and reducing the quarantine period to 14 days or even 7, if they travel to medium or low-risk places.

But speaking at a news conference this afternoon along with her key officials, Lam said these are still plans that would be finalized after consultation with various industries.

Until then, she said current social distancing restrictions would be extended for another two weeks, or until Apr 28 at the earliest.


As an example of a vaccine incentive, Lam said that if all the staff in a restaurant have had at least one vaccine jab and the customers use the Leave Home Safe app, up to six people may be seated at a table, and the dining hours extended from 10 pm to midnight.

If staff members have completed two doses of the vaccine plus an additional wait of 14 days, then an exclusive zone can be carved within the restaurant where the dining limit can be increased to eight per table.

For banquets, up to 100 people may be accommodated, and the dining hours extended until 2 am.


If everyone in the restaurant had been vaccinated, then up to 10 people may be allowed to sit together in one table, Lam said. 

Lam said up 10 fully vaccinated people may soon be able to dine together in restaurants

“So if you have been vaccinated and all the staff in the restaurant have been vaccinated, then they can enjoy the relaxed measures in terms of the number of customers per table and the operating hours,” she said.

“We do not need to wait until everybody or a certain percentage of Hong Kong people have been vaccinated.”

Pindutin para sa detalye

Lam said that the incentive could be extended to high-risk places that remain shut, such as bars, karaoke bars and party rooms, if their staff get vaccinated.

“If their staff get vaccinated and their customers use the LeaveHomeSafe app, they can resume business in a limited way,” she said.

Lam added that in future, the government will refrain from taking a “stop and go approach” to shutting down premises, meaning if an infection is found in one bar, for example, a closure order will not be issued on all similar venues.

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In the meantime, the Chief Executive said “We will be making an exception and we will be releasing an additional subsidy to them.” She said $400 million in subsidies will be disbursed to people in the industry.

Lam suggested other areas where a relaxation of restrictions could be enforced are public masses in churches, where the 30% capacity limit may be expanded; and allowing vaccinated people to visit patients in hospitals and care homes residents

Lam said that the uptake for the vaccine has “not been very high”, with only about 578,000 people having received a single dose, and 255,900 completing the two doses.


As the government has no plans to make vaccination mandatory, she said the best way to entice more people to get the jab is to provide incentives.

She said that people arriving from the three designated low-risk countries – Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – have been allowed to undergo hotel quarantine for only 14 days since Apr 9, instead of the 21 days required of other new arrivals.

But when fully vaccinated, travelers from these countries may even be allowed to spend only seven days in quarantine, she said.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

For those coming from medium-risk places, they could have their quarantine reduced from 21 days to 14 days, “or even shorter” if they have completed the requirements for full inoculation.

In addition, the Chief Executive also said that by mid-May:

-        flights from the United Kingdom will be allowed to resume, and all returnees can book their own hotel for the mandatory 21-day quarantine

-        all visitors from the Mainland will be able to enter Hong Kong without undergoing quarantine after testing negative in a rapid test at the land borders or the airport.

Chan says HK has managed to stop the coronavirus variant spreading in the community

Addressing concerns about the significant increase in the number of travelers arriving in Hong Kong with the highly infectious N501Y variant of the coronavirus, Dr Sophia Chan said government measures have been effective in preventing the strain spreading in the community.

Chan said that for the month of March, 150 imported cases were reported, and of these, 101 had the mutated virus.

She did not name any specific place from where the dreaded variant had mostly come from, saying it is currently spreading in many parts of the world.

Apart from the strict 21-day hotel quarantine imposed on new arrivals, especially from places considered as high-risk, she said Hong Kong has put in place as “circuit breaker for airlines.”

“If there is a certain number of cases (detected) on their arrival in Hong Kong, the route will be banned,” Chan said.

Since July last year, the government has invoked the right to ban airlines flying in with infected travelers 24 times, said Chan.

Meanwhile, of the 13 new Covid-19 infections reported today, only two were locally acquired, and both are linked to previous infections.

The 11 imported cases involved five passengers from India, three from Pakistan, two from Indonesia, and one from the Philippines.

Two of them had the N501Y variant, and both arrived on Apr 10. One is a foreign domestic helper who flew in aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 906 from Manila, and a returning resident from Pakistan who came via Emirates flight EK 384 from Islamabad.




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