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HK may ban unvaccinated people from certain places in case of 5th wave

31 May 2021

By The SUN 

Hong Kong officials step up the campaign to get more people to take a Covid jab (RTHK photo)

Officials led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam have renewed calls for more people to get inoculated, warning that those who haven’t gone for a coronavirus jab may be barred from restaurants, schools and other venues should a fifth wave of Covid-19 hits Hong Kong.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, May 31, CE Lam said the government needs to be fair to those who have done their part in helping keeping the city safe from the coronavirus.


“I hope people who have yet to take the jab will also realize that we need them to participate in order to be fair to all those who have taken a jab hitherto, so that all of us together could reach a higher level of vaccination rate that would keep the city safe,” she said.

But she was quick to add that people who are “medically unfit” to get vaccinated will be exempted from the disparate treatment.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan said the possible restriction could apply not just in restaurants and schools but also student hostels, construction sites, cinemas, libraries and performance and sports venues. 

She also cited the benefits from the so-called “vaccine bubble” where social distancing measures are  relaxed for inoculated people and previously closed businesses can now operate for longer hours.


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Under the so-called "travel bubble," vaccinated people will also be able to cross borders more easily when other countries open up for travel.

Lam said the next three months will be crucial to the government’s campaign to fight the coronavirus epidemic if Hong Kong has to revive its economy and return to normal.


Lam, who led her officials at the launch of the “Early Vaccination for All” initiative, took off her mask before the media for the first time in several months as she affirmed her government’s determination to halt the spread of the virus.

She noted that the last time a local case was identified was on Apr 25, or 37 days ago. But she said health authorities are investigating a preliminary positive case that shows it is difficult to prevent local infection. She said this calls for boosting the vaccination rate.

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“We seek to substantially boost the inoculation rate to create effective immunity in the community so that we can return to normality as soon as possible. We hope that before September, we’ll be able to get results,” the Chief Executive said.

“In other words, we can substantially increase the vaccination rate so that with the arrival of the fifth wave of the epidemic, different sectors of the community will not be affected, and we’ll have a million children in school and we hope by September they will be able return to classrooms.”

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The Chief Executive said new directions in fighting the epidemic that she announced on Apr 12 are still in force to keep the situation stable as various sectors return to business.

First, the government will remain vigilant and continue to impose certain measures to prevent the entry of imported cases, Lam said.

CE Lam says vaccination en masse is the only way out of the epidemic (File)

“The only solution to effectively find a way out of the epidemic is to appeal to the public to be inoculated en masse so as to create an effective safeguard,” Lam said, citing the significant drop in cases and deaths in countries with high inoculation rates.

The CE said she had written to hundreds of property developers and other companies to enlist them in offering perks to the public to encourage them to get inoculated to raise the city’s vaccination rate within the next three months.

Among those that have responded to the call is the MTR Corporation, which separately announced a plan to give away 500 annual train tickets with unlimited rides as an incentive to vaccinated residents.

The lucky ones who will be picked in the lucky draw can take unlimited MTR rides in one year, but the privilege will not be extended to the Airport Express, MTR feeder buses, the long trips to Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau, and first-class fares. Details will be announced later.

Earlier, property developers announced a lottery aimed at boosting the vaccination rate, where the grand prize is a flat worth $10.8 million. Twenty cards topped up with $100,000 each will also be given away to lucky vaccinated applicants.

Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip also confirmed plans to give government employees a one-day vaccine holiday for each Covid jab that they take.

Dr Thomas Tsang, former Centre for Health Protection comptroller and a government advisor on Covid-19 vaccines, assured people about the effects of the vaccines, saying there is public misunderstanding about why some people died after vaccination.

He said an expert committee comprising medical experts and university professors who looked into 20 post-vaccination deaths said the fatalities mostly suffered cardiac arrest.

In fact, he said about 120 people die every day in Hong Kong hospitals, but their deaths are not reported as the media focus more on the effects of the vaccines.
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