Experts recommend testing antibodies of travellers

A government-appointed expert panel on Wednesday recommended testing the antibody level of inbound travellers who are vaccinated against Covid-19 so that their quarantine period could be shortened to seven days.

But the experts said the quarantine period for those who flew in from countries considered high risk should remain unchanged.

Travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will have to show inoculation records and test negative for coronavirus on arrival.

The controller for the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Ronald Lam, said special facilities to collect blood samples would be set up at the airport for the antibody tests.

He said other measures would be in place to prevent imported Covid-19 cases.

“The shortened quarantine period for vaccinated travellers is in response to the scientific evidence,” he said.

“Even so, they have to undergo self-monitoring as well. Plus, we’ll impose multiple testings during their quarantine period.”

Meanwhile, the panel said it supports lowering the minimum age for the BioNTech vaccine to 12 from 16.

Lam said vaccinations for adolescents would start this month.

The experts also updated guidelines for elderly people receiving coronavirus vaccines in a bid to boost the vaccination rate.

They said it’s safe for elderly people who have taken flu shots in the past to get vaccinated against Covid-19, except the extremely frail ones.