Bans on the unvaccinated ‘deprive people of rights’

A patients’ rights activist has urged the government not to implement the idea of banning unvaccinated people from venues such as restaurants and sports halls in the event of a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

Alex Lam, who chairs the group Hong Kong Patients’ Voices, said on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme on Tuesday that he welcomed incentives for vaccination, including the government’s offer of giving civil servants a day off for each vaccine dose they receive.

“There are reasons for people not getting the vaccination, such as health reasons, and people disallowed to enter such places will be deprived of their basic rights,” he told RTHK’s Janice Wong.

“Say, for example, you’re not allowed to go to schools, to restaurants, construction sites, or certain workplaces; by disallowing these people to go to these places, you deprive them of the right to receive an education, you disallow them from making earnings.”

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Health Secretary Sophia Chan said at the launch of a pro-vaccination campaign on Monday that entry bans for venues would be considered if the SAR experienced a fifth wave of coronavirus infections. Those who are medically unfit for vaccination would be exempt.

Chan said the possible restriction could apply to restaurants, schools, student hostels, constructions sites, libraries, museums, cinemas, and performance and sports venues.

Officials have also approached the private sector to encourage it to offer more incentives, after a property developer proposed giving away a flat in Kwun Tong in a draw for vaccinated people.

As of Monday night, government figures showed that 2.4mn doses of vaccine had been administered, with the number of fully vaccinated people passing one million.

Recent days have seen an uptick in the number of people booking vaccines, with 36,400 people receiving doses on Monday and 37,700 people making bookings online.