Hong Kong Implements Vaccine Passport System
HONG KONG – The local government has officially implemented its vaccine passports on Thursday, obliging people aged 12 and above to have taken at least 1 COVID vaccine jab, reported Reuters on Thursday evening (25 February, SGT).
Starting yesterday (Thursday), residents need to show their vaccine record to enter venues like supermarkets, restaurants, and shopping centers. This is a major inconvenience here as malls are usually connected to train stations, residential blocks, and office buildings.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam tapped emergency powers granted under British colonial-era laws to exempt mainland Chinese employees and developments from any licensing or other legal requirements to operate in the city.
This paves the way for the Chinese government to assist in constructing additional isolation, treatment and testing facilities, and increase the manpower as Hong Kong’s health system is increasingly overwhelmed.
“Hong Kong’s healthcare system, manpower, anti-epidemic facilities and resources… will soon be insufficient to handle the huge number of newly confirmed cases detected every day,” explained the government.
The local government also further tightened COVID-related curbs from Thursday in a city that already has some of the harshest restrictions in the globe. Residents are now required to wear masks for all outdoor exercise and will not be permitted to remove them to eat or drink while riding on public transportation.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong recorded a record 8,674 new COVID-19 infections as the financial hub readies to mandatorily test of its 7.4 million people, in line with its “zero COVID” strategy similar to mainland China.
With the Chinese territory’s testing, treatment and isolation capacity already stretched to the limit, researchers from the University of Hong Kong forecasted that new infections could peak at 180,000 per day by March 2022.