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Sunday, Jun 20, 2021

Hong Kong reverses COVID jab mandate for helpers after backlash

Hong Kong reverses COVID jab mandate for helpers after backlash

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a U-turn on plans to force coronavirus vaccines on foreign domestic workers on Tuesday, but put them through another round of compulsory testing.

Addressing concerns sparked by the controversial mandatory vaccination scheme, Lam said her administration would no longer require all foreign domestic workers in the city to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before their contracts can be renewed, after speaking with consulates of major home countries of migrant helpers.

However, over 370,000 migrant workers are required to get another COVID-19 test by May 30. Those who have been fully vaccinated would be exempted from the order. The first round, where around 340,000 helpers took the test, yielded only four positive cases, including three who contracted with variants of the virus.

Meeting the press ahead of her weekly meeting with the Executive Council, Lam also apologized to thousands of citizens who were sent to quarantine camps because of living in the same buildings with COVID-19 variant patients.

“During their stay in the quarantine center, I understand the conditions are not the best that we would like to see. The service may be a bit substandard, particularly over this alleged food poisoning case,” she said.

“We will review all these complaints and grievances with a view to improving the arrangements,” the city’s chief continued. “But I really hope Hong Kong people would appreciate it, because of a large number of people who had to be arranged to be quarantined within a very short period.”

Lam also announced that all primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong will resume half-day face-to-face classes from May 24 onwards, in view of a stable pandemic situation.


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