Free vaccination won't be mandatory in Hong Kong


Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam meets the press ahead of an Executive Council meeting at Central Government Offices on Jan 12, 2021. - China Daily

HONG KONG (China Daily/ANN): Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam stressed that the city’s planned free coronavirus vaccination programme would not be mandatory, and that cash incentives would not be provided for people who get inoculated.

Speaking to reporters before a meeting of the Executive Council on Tuesday (Jan 12), Lam said the fourth wave of CovidD-19 infections in the city remained worrying, because clusters kept cropping up at hospitals, care homes and construction sites, and involved first aiders, ferry sailors and bus drivers.

“Over the past week, the local outbreak declined very slowly, and there were resurgences in (the number of) new cases, ” Lam said, adding that people should not have gatherings involving non-family members.

Speaking on a radio programme on Tuesday, Joseph Tsang Kay-yan, a local specialist in infectious diseases, said the recent fluctuations in daily caseloads represented transmissions that had occured during the late December holidays. He expected the number of local cases to stay in the double digits in January.

Although he believes virus curbs have been elevated to the toughest level, Tsang appealed to residents to be more careful when celebrating the Lunar New Year next month.

Hong Kong recorded 32,25,33,45,59,31 and 41 daily Covid-19 cases, respectively, in the past seven days.

Lam also made it clear that a rollout of the vaccination programme may not directly lead to a relaxation of social distancing rules.

“During the previous two waves, the government only started easing those measures when daily local cases could be counted in a single digit, ” Lam said. - China Daily/Asia News Network

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