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Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Government employees must get vaccinated before entering buildings from mid-Feb

Government employees must get vaccinated before entering buildings from mid-Feb

Starting from mid-February next year, government employees will be required to present proof of a Covid-19 jab before entering government buildings and offices.
The government announced on Tuesday that the current vaccination in lieu of regular testing arrangements for their employees will be further tightened from December 28.

Under the tightened arrangement, government employees who have not received the first dose of a Covid vaccine will have to undergo testing once every three days.

In other words, starting from January 3, 2022, all government employees who have not received their first dose of a vaccine will be subject to testing once every three days.

For those who are unfit to be vaccinated due to medical conditions supported by a valid medical certificate, relevant departments will continue to allow them as far as possible to undergo testing at community testing centers on a three-day cycle provided that departmental operations are not affected. Their tests will continue to be funded on a reimbursement basis.

Other unvaccinated people have to take the tests outside working hours and pay the costs incurred from their own pocket.

Meanwhile, the government will implement a "vaccine bubble" at government buildings and offices from mid-February 2022.

By that time, save for those who are proven unfit for vaccination, all government employees will be required to present vaccination records when they enter government buildings and offices for work-related purposes.

Those unfit for vaccination will be issued a special pass for entering buildings and offices concerned.

Upon implementing the "vaccine bubble," the requirement to use the LeaveHomeSafe app when entering government buildings or offices will continue.

"The government has reiterated on many occasions that the civil service plays an important role in the anti-epidemic effort and the provision of public services, as such government employees have an obligation to get vaccinated," a government spokesman said.

He continued that those who refuse to receive the vaccination without duly certified medical reasons are acting irresponsibly, as it will increase the risk of infection in their offices.

"With the implementation of the 'vaccine bubble' arrangement, the government will be in a better position to relax the regular testing arrangements for government employees whose health conditions do not allow them to receive vaccination," he added.

According to the authorities, around 96 percent of government employees have already taken the first dose of the vaccine.

The government said it strongly appeals to employees to get vaccinated as early as possible. It will also continue the current measures to enable civil servants to receive the vaccination, including allowing vaccination during hours of duty and favorably handling sick leave or vacation leave applications when staff experience side effects from vaccination.

Meanwhile, the government has extended existing social distancing measures for 14 days to January 5 next year.

It is keeping a "close watch" on the development of the pandemic.

If the situation eventually warrants a significant increase in the vaccination coverage in order to protect the elderly and to facilitate quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and mainland, the government will consider extending the scope of the "vaccine bubble" to all premises such as restaurants and cinemas regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation, aka Cap. 599F.
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