Send your well-wishes virtually: Sophia Chan

Health minister Sophia Chan on Sunday urged people to cut down on gatherings over the Lunar New Year holiday and use virtual communications to send season’s greetings.

“The year of Tiger is fast approaching. Because of the pandemic, we have to strictly follow social-distancing rules during the Lunar New Year and cut down on family gatherings, but we can still use virtual communications and other technologies to send our well-wishes to senior members of our families and beloved relatives and friends,” she wrote on her blog.

Chan also renewed call for people to vaccinate against Covid-19, saying the government may consider relaxing social-distancing measures when more than 90 percent of the eligible population have received the first jab.

She noted the Chief Executive had hoped vaccination rate for the first jab could reach 90 percent by the end of next month.

“With this ‘roadmap’, as long as people work together towards the 90-percent target, we could then consider whether to use ‘vaccine passports’ as the basis to adjust a number of social-distancing measures, in accordance with the local epidemic situation,” Chan said.

She said the government is looking into buying newer generations of the Covid vaccines, but did not go into details.

The health chief also called on people who are at high risk of being exposed to the Omicron variant – including cleaners, security guards, airport workers, flight crew as well as quarantine hotel staff – to get jabbed as soon as possible, warning that untraceable cases and sewage samples found with the coronavirus were all signs of silent transmissions taking place in the community.