Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor meets the press ahead of an Executive Council meeting in Hong Kong on May 11, 2021. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has shelved its plan to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for foreign domestic helpers seeking to apply for a work visa or to renew their contracts in the city.
Also, it plans to allow the city's kindergarten and school students to return to the campus in full strength for truncated classes later this month.
The government plans to allow half-day on-campus classes for all kindergarten, primary and secondary school students, likely starting May 24
Speaking before her weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the decision was made after the government assessed public health risks and consulted Indonesian and Filipino consular officials regarding the feasibility and necessity of such a move.
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Instead, the city’s 370,000 foreign domestic helpers would need to undergo a second round of mandatory testing which will last from Saturday to May 31, Lam said.
The first round ended on Sunday and helped identify three patients carrying mutated strains of the coronavirus.
Just like in the first round, the helpers who are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the second round starts are exempted, Lam said.
Asked whether the second round would be a cost-effective exercise, Lam said: “I hope no case is found in the second round. This will help reassure us. This is not a question of cost-effectiveness. It is prudence a government pursues in the face of a public health crisis.”
Hong Kong logged only one imported COVID-19 case on Tuesday, the CE said. It marks the fourth straight day of no local infection.
The 27-year-old asymptomatic woman flew in from Indonesia, according to a statement issued by the Centre for Health Protection in the afternoon.
The city’s total of confirmed cases stands at 11,812, with 210 related fatalities.
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As the local outbreaks seems to have come under control, the government plans to allow half-day on-campus classes for all students at the city’s kindergartens and primary and secondary schools, Lam said. She said the new arrangement would likely come into force on May 24.
Currently, up to two-thirds of all students enrolled in a school are allowed on the campus for half-day classes.