Hong Kong wants 80% jab rate before reopening

Hong Kong wants 80% jab rate before reopening

Travel to and from mainland China still a few weeks away, global reopening could take months

Visitors use smartphones to scan a QR code for the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 contact-tracing app before entering the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong on Tuesday. (Bloomberg Photo)
Visitors use smartphones to scan a QR code for the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 contact-tracing app before entering the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong on Tuesday. (Bloomberg Photo)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong will have to achieve a vaccination rate of at least 80% before it will consider reopening its borders to mainland China and the international community thereafter, The Standard reported, citing a top government official.

About 70.2% of the population has received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and 60% are fully vaccinated. Only 17% of people above age 80 have been inoculated, the newspaper quoted Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip as saying in a radio interview on Saturday. The report didn’t specify if the reopening criteria were for a fully or partially vaccinated population.

Hong Kong has been working toward the reopening of the border with mainland China as both continue to enforce a zero-Covid strategy of eliminating the virus within their borders.

The city announced the rollout of a China-style tracking app on Thursday as officials sought to close a gap in surveillance that had been a sticking point in protracted travel talks.

Hong Kong’s border will remain closed to China at least through Dec 19, the election day for the city’s local legislature, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said last Tuesday.

An aide to Ms Lam said earlier this month that it could be about six months before Hong Kong could open up to global travel. That would only happen after officials have successfully navigated the introduction of quarantine-free borders with mainland China and boosted the local vaccination rate, said Lam Ching-choi, a member of Ms Lam’s advisory Executive Council.


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