Government is not penalising unvaccinated people: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that the government is penalising those who have not been inoculated against Covid-19 – a day after her health secretary warned that the unvaccinated may be barred from restaurants and entertainment venues in the event of a fifth wave of coronavirus infections.

Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said that since April her administration wanted to avoid a “one-size fits all” approach for closing premises.

This, she said, affects daily life in the city and closing schools, for example, also affects the mental health of pupils.

“So if there’s a certain degree of vaccination protection at schools and to allow them to conduct face-to-face teaching again, you have to make a choice, so that those vaccinated can have face-to-face classes and others learn online,” Lam said.

“This, compared to everyone learning online, you have to protect many of those who have cooperated with the epidemic measures and let them return to relatively normal teaching activities. This cannot be seen as penalising or scaring off people.”

Lam stressed officials are not forcing people to get vaccinated, saying those who are medically unfit to do so will just be subject to more frequent Covid tests.

She said, ultimately, the vaccination drive relies on the people of Hong Kong to clear their doubts and hesitancy about getting the jabs, so the city can return to normal.