Executive Council member and lawmaker Regina Ip has accused Health Secretary Sophia Chan of "lacking common sense" over whether Hong Kong should donate unused Covid-19 vaccines to other places, such as India.
Speaking at a Legislative Council meeting on Friday, Ip said given the relatively low vaccination take-up rate in the SAR, officials should consider donating some doses – which are nearing expiry – to countries in need.
Chan said in reply that the government would liaise with the World Health Organisation to see whether there's a donation mechanism in place.
But Ip was not happy and responded by saying: "You don't have to follow the WHO on everything, use your common sense."
"It's really a judgement call. Do you have to consult the WHO on every decision which comes within your own jurisdiction?" the lawmaker later said to RTHK.
Ip also asked the government whether it would consider providing economic incentives to boost the SAR's vaccination rate, citing as an example a lottery for those who have had a jab in the US state of Ohio, with US$1 million prizes.
To this, Chan said officials would go back and have a think.
Meanwhile, the health minister also came under fire over suspected food poisoning cases at the Penny’s Bay quarantine camp, as pictures of the meals provided went viral on the internet.
Chan said if those at the camp didn’t like what was provided by the government, they could always order their own takeaway meals.
But the only non-establishment lawmaker in the council, Cheng Chung-tai, accused officials of being arrogant, saying they were treating people like "inmates" by giving them sub-standard food from a contractor he said was linked to a food poisoning outbreak in 2019.
But the Department of Health insisted that Danny Catering Services was selected through an established mechanism.
The government had said it may prosecute the contractor over alleged food contamination at the camp last week.
'Use your common sense', Regina Ip tells Sophia Chan
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