A university in Hong Kong has announced that it will ban unvaccinated and untested regular visitors from its campus from September due to coronavirus concerns.

Students, staff, university residents, and other regular visitors will have to present a electronic campus pass, which can be obtained after submitting proof of Covid-19 vaccination or fortnightly test results, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced on Monday.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: HKUST.

Campus goers will have to upload relevant records to an online system that will be launched next Wednesday, and the entry restrictions will start on September 1, according to an email sent to members of the university.

Those who refuse to comply will be banned from accessing the campus and campus facilities, including halls of residence, libraries, and sports facilities.

“Students are reminded to take note of the potential consequences that may arise out of a denial of access to campus including, for instance, possible inability to meet relevant attendance/course requirements, or taking part in in-person exams, etc,” the email read.

Free Covid-19 testing kits will be made available for university members who cannot be vaccinated because of medical reasons. They will have to upload relevant proof to the online system before collecting a kit, and no free testing kits will be made available for family members or foreign domestic workers who live on campus.

HKUST will also provide financial assistance to students to purchase testing kits through a “regular needs-based assessment.”

HKUST is the first university in the city to make it compulsory for members of the university to upload their vaccination and testing records.

covid-19 coronavirus vaccine
Photo: Patrick Nip, via Facebook.

In response to HKFP, the university said it had decided to resume on-campus teaching this autumn: “In order to allow the University to restore a collaborative environment best suited to realize our academic mission in a responsible manner, HKUST encourages all members of the University to be vaccinated, or be required to undergo testing every two weeks.  If anyone cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, the University will provide them rapid test kits for free.”

Walk-in vaccination expanded

The government is also pushing for more residents to get vaccinated. From Wednesday, a walk-in vaccination service at 24 community centres will be expanded to people aged 60 or above, it was announced on Monday.

The walk-in service was previously only available to those aged 70 or above.

“…the elderly are the group with the highest risks of complications and death from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are highly recommended for the elderly for protection against infection,” a government statement said.

As of Sunday, 3,493,929 people in the city of 7.5 million had received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 2,686,162 of them were fully vaccinated.

Hong Kong reported two coronavirus infections on Monday, both of which were imported cases. The city has recorded 12,016 cases and 212 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.