Hong Kong

Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Face Mandatory Covid Vaccination

Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong face being forced to take Covid vaccines. Non-compliance in the vaccine rollout could result in work contracts not being renewed under plans being drawn up by Carrie Lam’s Government. The Guardian has the story.

Hong Kong’s Government has sparked discrimination concerns over plans to force hundreds of thousands of foreign domestic workers to be vaccinated against Covid or face losing their job.

Authorities have embarked on mass mandatory testing of the city’s 370,000 domestic workers after a more infectious strain was detected in the community, and flagged plans for compulsory vaccinations.

Under the measures, workers would need to be vaccinated before their contracts could be renewed, and any incoming worker would be required to have the vaccination to enter Hong Kong.

The vast majority of Hong Kong’s domestic workers are migrant workers, primarily from the Philippines and Indonesia, and no other foreign workforce has been singled out for mandatory vaccines, drawing criticism from Philippines officials. The country’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teddy Locsin Jr., praised Hong Kong’s provision of free vaccines to domestic workers, but said singling them out to make it mandatory “smacks of discrimination”.

“If it is a special favour, it is unfair to other nationalities. Hong Kong can do better than that,” he said…

In explaining the new rules, Hong Kong’s Minister for Labour, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said the “high risk group” mainly spent their holidays with friends, which could lead to cross-family infections. The migrant workers, who usually travel alone to Hong Kong, have one day off a week and frequently gather in public places to socialise away from the home where they work.

“In the long run, we need to think about how to get more domestic workers vaccinated,” said Law.

Late last month the Hong Kong Government said that only vaccinated people can visit bars and nightclubs and their staff must also have had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. A Government mobile app is being used as a vaccine passport. At restaurants, unvaccinated people must sit in designated areas, away from those who have received a vaccine.

The Guardian report is worth reading in full.

Bars and Nightclubs to Reopen in Hong Kong – But Only For Those Who Have Been Vaccinated Against Covid

Hong Kong is moving ahead with a vaccine passport scheme under which only those who have been vaccinated against Covid and who use a Government mobile phone app will be able to go to bars and nightclubs when they reopen on Thursday. All staff will also be required to have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The scheme will, according to a Government official, enable life in Hong Kong to “return to normal” – despite breaking from all that has previously been considered “normal”. Reuters has the story.

Hong Kong will reopen bars and nightclubs from April 29th for people who have been vaccinated and who use a Government mobile phone application, the Asian financial hub’s Health Secretary said on Tuesday.

Sophia Chan told a press briefing the measures extended to bathhouses and karaoke lounges and would enable the venues to stay open until 2 am. All staff and customers must have received at least one vaccine dose for the venue to be operational and they must operate at half capacity, she said.

“We all hope life can return to normal but we need to allow some time for everyone to adapt to these new measures,” Chan said.

The former British colony has recorded over 11,700 total coronavirus cases, far lower than other developed cities…

Chan’s announcement comes as authorities try to incentivise residents to get vaccinated with only around 11% of the city’s 7.5 million population having received their first vaccine dose.

The take up of vaccines has been sluggish since the scheme began in the Chinese special administrative region in February due to a lack of confidence in China’s Sinovac vaccine and fears of adverse reactions.

Hong Kong began vaccinating residents with doses from Sinovac in February and started offering a vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech in March.

Under the new scheme, restaurant-goers who have not been vaccinated will have to sit in designated areas, away from those who have received a vaccine.

Restaurants will set up different areas for customers who are not vaccinated and for those who choose to write their contact details down on paper rather than registering with the government app. This segment will only be allowed to dine up to four people to a table [whereas the “vaccinated zone” will be permitted to dine up to six customers per table].

Worth reading in full.