Unjabbed govt staff to get tested more frequently

The government said on Tuesday that it would tighten the testing requirement for its unvaccinated employees to push them to receive Covid-19 vaccination, saying those who refuse to take the jabs without sound medical reasons are acting irresponsibly.

From December 28, government employees who have not taken the first dose of coronavirus vaccine would have to get tested for Covid-19 every three days instead of once a week.

Staff are required to take the tests outside working hours and pay at their own expense.

Those who are medically unfit to get vaccinated will have their testing costs reimbursed.

A spokesman said in a statement that around 96 percent of government employees have already taken the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

“Since the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the government has reiterated on many occasions that the civil service plays an important role in the anti-epidemic effort and the provision of public services, as such government employees have an obligation to get vaccinated,” the statement wrote.

“Those who refuse to receive vaccination without duly certified medical reasons are acting irresponsibly, as it will increase the risk of infection in their offices.”

Meanwhile, the government said it will implement a “vaccine bubble” arrangement at its buildings and offices from mid-February.

It said all government employees will be required to present their vaccination record when they enter government buildings and offices, adding that those who are medically unfit for vaccination will be issued a special pass

Separately, the government said it will extend its current social distancing rules for another two weeks in view of the unstable epidemic situation.

It added that it will consider extending the vaccine bubble arrangement, which is currently imposed on premises like bars and karaokes, to restaurants and other venues to better protect the public and meet the basic conditions for quarantine-free travel across the border.