People cross a street in a shopping district in Hong Kong on Sept 5, 2022.
(ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong announced on Thursday that children aged above 5 years old will be covered by Vaccine Pass requirements starting by the end of September as the city’s daily caseload surpassed 11,000.
Under Secretary for Health Libby Lee Ha-yun said in a press conference that the government decided to include children aged 5 to 11 years old in the Vaccine Pass program after eight child deaths and 38 critical cases involving children were recorded during the fifth wave of infections.
Under Secretary for Health Libby Lee Ha-yun said in a press conference that the government decided to include children aged 5 to 11 years old in the Vaccine Pass program after eight child deaths and 38 critical cases involving children were recorded during the fifth wave of infections
“One child death is too many. We want to avoid that. We want parents to have their children vaccinated,” Lee said. “No one wants to see children experiencing these conditions.”
During the first phase starting Sept 30, children aged 5 to 11 will be required to get their first vaccine jab within three months to meet Vaccine Pass requirements. If they have received their first dose in the past three months, they should get their second shot.
ALSO READ: HK sees 10,194 new COVID-19 infections, 16 deaths
In the second phase starting Nov 30, they will be required to have two doses. Lee said 83 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have received at least one jab while 70 percent have two doses. She said 68,000 have yet to get a shot.
Lee also said that, starting Sept 30, children aged 12 should get a third jab if they took their second jab in the past six months. Beginning Nov 30, they will be required to get a third shot to qualify for the Vaccine Pass.
Lee said children who do not have smartphones can use paper-based certificates while the LeaveHomeSafe app will soon have a function that will allow parents to show their children’s Vaccine Pass status.
Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in the same press briefing that there were 11,091 new cases, including 181 imported infections.
ALSO READ: Entry quota for Hong Kong travelers to Shenzhen reduced
Twelve new deaths, including one reported from a public mortuary, brought the city’s toll to 9,556 during the fifth wave while Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 accounted for 69.5 percent of new cases.
Au said 64 of the imported cases were detected at the airport, 75 in quarantine hotels, and 42 at community testing centers. More than 10 cases each came from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Philippines, and Thailand.
He said three residential care homes for the elderly recorded 11 residents and two staff members getting infected while two care homes for persons with disabilities had five new cases.
Au also said that 777 schools reported 1,163 students and 193 teaching staff members testing positive while 42 schools were advised to suspend some classes due to infections.
READ MORE: Public in Hong Kong urged to get vaccinated against COVID
Also speaking at the same press briefing, Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said there were 2,790 COVID patients being treated in public hospitals as of Thursday, including 315 new patients.