Hong Kong’s community vaccination centres will stay open for another month to meet increasing demand, and officials predict 70 per cent of the eligible population — seen as the threshold to herd immunity — will have received at least a first dose by the end of September.
A total of 26 of the centres will stay open, allowing more Hongkongers to receive their first dose in September and a second dose until the end of October, according to an announcement on Friday.
All community vaccination centres will continue operating until the end of October, except for centres at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai and at the Hong Kong International Airport, both of which will shut at the end of September.
The vaccination centre at the Central Library, meanwhile, will relocate to Java Road Sports Centre at the beginning of October.
Bookings for appointments within the extended period will begin at 9 am on Saturday on the government’s website.
A spokesperson urged the public to take advantage. “The government appeals to members of the public to seize the opportunity to get vaccinated so as to help build an immune barrier in Hong Kong as soon as possible by significantly raising the vaccination rate, thereby restoring normality to society sooner rather than later.”
Hong Kong’s city-wide vaccination scheme, which began in late February, had administered at least one dose to 50 per cent of the eligible population as of Thursday evening.
The city reported two imported cases on Friday and five imported and one local case with an unknown origin on Thursday. The local case ended the city’s almost two-month streak of zero community infections.
The government also eased requirements for home quarantine for fully-vaccinated returnees from mainland China under its Return2HK scheme.
People returning to Hong Kong who have been fully vaccinated will now be allowed to serve seven days of home quarantine, a u-turn on measures announced on Thursday. Returnees from neighbouring Guangdong province do not need to quarantine.
The new arrangements also reduce mandatory hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from Taiwan from 21 days to 14.
Travel for foreign domestic workers
Also on Friday, the Labour Department announced that domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia will be allowed to enter the city to begin new employment contracts or resume previous employment, if they satisfy certain conditions.
Foreign domestic workers must show proof they are fully vaccinated, show a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight, and have 21 days of hotel quarantine arranged beforehand.
The department reminded employers to make early arrangements and to pay for their employees’ Covid-19 travel arrangements. “Employers should bear the cost of the nucleic acid test for their [foreign domestic workers]… including bearing the accommodation expenses and providing food allowances to [them] during their compulsory quarantine.”
The department added that it would release further details on plans to “centrally quarantine” foreign domestic workers in specified hotels.