Follow us for updates
© 2022
Read the Story →

No Vaccine Card, No Entry in Hong Kong as it Battles Omicron Surge

On the throes of the worst coronavirus outbreak.
by Agence France Presse
Feb 22, 2022
Photo/s: shutterstock

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong will launch a vaccine pass scheme this week, officials said Monday, as hospitals struggle under an omicron-fueled outbreak and the finance hub sees record-high departures.

The densely populated metropolis is currently in the throes of its worst-ever coronavirus outbreak, registering thousands of confirmed cases every day as hospitals and isolation units run out of space.

Starting Thursday, all residents aged 12 and above entering restaurants and clubhouses will be required to provide proof of having at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot or a doctor's exemption.

"Everyone should carry along their vaccine record or exemptions like their ID cards," said Kevin Choi, deputy secretary of food and health, at a press conference on Monday.

Other public spaces -- including wet markets, supermarkets, hospitals and government premises -- will not require a show of proof, but will be subjected to spot checks by authorities and fines. 

Later phases of the scheme will include requiring eligible residents to have received three vaccine shots, they added.

Continue reading below ↓

City leader Carrie Lam had said last month she hopes the scheme could push the vaccine-hesitant to get the jab. 

"If you choose not to get vaccinated... you must bear some of the consequences," she said.

Hong Kong, which follows China's "zero-COVID" policy, enjoyed months of no local infections last year.

But few preparations were made for a mass outbreak and health policy experts say more efforts should have been spent boosting its meager vaccination rate -- particularly among the elderly, whose numbers remain below 50% for two jabs.

Authorities do not allow those with COVID-19 to isolate at home and are now scrambling to build new isolation facilities with the help of mainland China and requisition hotel rooms.

But it is not clear if enough rooms can be provided. 


Why We No Longer Want to Move to Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Toymakers are Eyeing Move to Philippines, Says DTI

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

'Simpsons' Tiananmen Episode Missing from Hong Kong Disney+

Hong Kong Exempts Nicole Kidman From Quarantine, Sparking Public Anger

Cases are expected to rise to "literally hundreds of thousands" in the coming weeks, said Karen Grepin of the University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health. 

"All of the data seems to suggest that we are very much at an early stage in this wave," she told the city's public broadcaster RTHK Monday.

The city is currently preparing to test all of its residents for COVID-19 -- with support from the mainland -- a move that came after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for "all necessary measures" to control the virus.

Hong Kong has remained cut off from the world for much of the last two years and is also undergoing a political crackdown.

With little sign of that changing, departures have soared.

Government data showed that the one-time "Asia's World City" saw a record 27,703 departures last week -- the highest rate since the pandemic started more than two years ago. 

Continue reading below ↓

Charities on Friday also raised the alarm on the treatment of foreign domestic workers, who they say have been sacked after testing positive for COVID-19 and forced to sleep outdoors.

Reportr is now on Quento. Download the app or visit the Quento website for more articles and videos from Reportr and your favorite websites.

Latest Headlines
Read Next
Recent News
A long-time spokesman of the Army and the Armed Forces.
With the reopening of several local destinations, this app has never been more timely.
An exhibit of paintings she received during the campaign.
He wins the World's Ugliest Dog Contest.
Third crown for the country in the pageant for trans women.
The news. So what? Subscribe to the newsletter that explains what the news means for you.
The email address you entered is invalid.
Thank you for signing up to On Three, reportr's weekly newsletter delivered to your mailbox three times a week. Only the latest, most useful and most insightful reads.
By signing up to newsletter, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.