Unjabbed govt staff may need to get tested every week

The Secretary for Civil Service, Patrick Nip, said on Sunday that unvaccinated government staff may need to get tested for Covid-19 every week, instead of once every two weeks.

Currently, government employees who have not received at least one Covid-19 dose are required to pay for the mandatory tests themselves.

Speaking on a TV programme, Nip said the current measure may have to be tightened to further boost the city’s vaccination rate.

Nip noted that around 69 percent of the population had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccines, adding that the vaccination rate for the elderly had seen a significant increase over the past month or so.

He also said, so far, around 35,000 people had booked their third dose of Covid vaccine under the government’s booster shot programme.

Those with compromised immune systems, like cancer patients, can get a third jab 28 days after completing the two-dose regimen, while the over-60s and those who face a higher risk of infection at their workplace can do so six months after their second jab.

Nip said the government may expand the scheme to cover more people soon, including those who have received their second Sinovac jab for six months, depending on people’s response to the scheme and the capacity of the vaccination centres.

But he said it is still unclear whether a booster shot would be a prerequisite for people to travel quarantine-free to the mainland when the border reopens.

He also said it would be reasonable for the government to grant a day of vaccination leave to its employees for receiving the third dose, adding that details would be announced in due course.