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Vaccination required for more workers

2021-08-02 HKT 18:30
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  • Vaccination required for more workers
Violet Wong reports
The government is requiring more workers to be vaccinated as well as tightening entry requirements for inbound travellers, as part of fresh attempts to fight the spread of Covid-19 here in Hong Kong.

In a press conference on Monday, the government listed new groups of workers who must get vaccinated or pay for regular testing in future.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said staff at schools, care homes for the elderly and disabled, the Hospital Authority and the government are all subject to the new requirement.

Staff in quarantine hotels and at the airport were also ordered to get their jabs.

And Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said some restaurant workers will need to get tested every week, instead of every fortnight.

Secretary for Civil Service Patrick Nip, who's in charge of the government's vaccination programme, had this to say when asked why public officers were told to get inoculated when 70 percent of them have already done so.

"We need to build a defence, a barrier to protect the community. Seventy percent vaccination rate, I think, is the basic. Although it's good to see that the percentage of civil servants receiving the first dose is now about 70 percent, there is a need for civil servants to protect himself or herself, to protect the public they serve, and also to protect the community, that they have the duty to get vaccinated," Nip said.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said full-day lessons could resume at schools where 70 percent of staff and students are fully vaccinated.

The government also said it will consider whether to extend the operation of community vaccination centres through October.

Officials said previously the centres would close at the end of September.

Meanwhile, the government is reclassifying its risk assessment of countries under three tiers, instead of five previously.

Non-vaccinated Hong Kong residents will not be allowed to enter the city from high-risk places, and non-vaccinated non-residents from medium-risk places will be banned from entering too.

And Hongkongers returning from medium-risk areas without vaccination records will have to be quarantined for 21 days, seven days longer than those who have been inoculated.

The chief executive said it's not the time to let the guard down yet as the Delta variant wreaked havoc around the world, leading to a surge in cases.

"With that in mind, if we start to relax or open our borders without subjecting passengers arriving in Hong Kong to any quarantine, we're putting the whole community at risk," Lam said.