The screenshot taken from a video on news.gov.hk shows Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor at a press briefing before the Executive Council meeting on Jan 4, 2022. (NEWS.GOV.HK)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Tuesday morning that the government will expand curbs for unvaccinated residents under its “vaccine bubble” arrangement starting Feb 24, after the Chinese New Year holiday period.
The scope of entry ban for people who have not received any COVID-19 vaccine will not be limited to the scheduled premises under the city's Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation, Lam said.
Lam said the government will not suspend face-to-face classes as in the early stage of the pandemic
Promising more details later, she said the ban will include schools and cultural and sports facilities but not private workplaces, malls and cinemas.
She noted that the policy discussion on the 'vaccine bubble' has prompted more people to get inoculated. Almost 18,000 people took their first COVID-19 shots, ramping up the ratio of population with first vaccine dose to 72.9 percent.
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Lam said the government has no plan to suspend face-to-face classes as in the early stage of the pandemic.
"As of today, we have no plans to tighten social distancing measures or suspend classes," she said.
An increasing amount of psychological studies indicate suspension of in-person schooling has long-term impact on children, especially younger children, she added.
Responding to questions on possible punishment of Cathay Pacific flight attendants who violated their quarantine, Lam said she understood the public’s outrage and called their behavior “extremely irresponsible”.
“Just because they want to eat out and go to bars, 370 people have to spend their Chinese New Year in the quarantine center and thousands need to undergo testing,” Lam said.
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"The social costs are huge simply because of the gratification of an individual who went to bars and restaurants."
But so far, there is no clear legal framework in Hong Kong to prosecute them, she added.