Hong Kong Launches COVID Vaccine Passport, Pave Way for Mainland Chinese Doctors

Hong Kong launched a vaccine passport on Thursday (24/2), which requires people 12 years of age and older to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and paved the way for workers from mainland China to help control the worsening outbreak in Hong Kong. there.

Residents will be required to show their vaccine records to enter places such as supermarkets, shopping centers and restaurants, a major inconvenience in a city where malls link train stations to residential and office buildings.

Separately, the city’s leader Carrie Lam used emergency powers granted under British colonial-era laws to relieve Chinese staff and projects from any license or legal requirement to operate in Hong Kong.

City authorities have enlisted the help of their partners in mainland China to build additional facilities for isolation, treatment and testing, and increase the workforce as Hong Kong’s health system becomes increasingly overwhelmed.

COVID-19 contact tracing app on the first day of vaccine passport launch in Hong Kong, 24 February 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

COVID-19 contact tracing app on the first day of vaccine passport launch in Hong Kong, 24 February 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

“Hong Kong’s healthcare system, anti-epidemic workforce, facilities and resources will in the near future be inadequate to deal with the vast number of confirmed new cases detected every day,” the government said in a statement.

On Wednesday (23/2), Hong Kong recorded a record 8,674 new COVID-19 infections as the global financial hub prepares to impose mandatory testing on its 7.4 million citizens – part of a “dynamic zero COVID-19” strategy similar to that in force in the United States. mainland China.

Allowing doctors from mainland China to practice in Hong Kong has long been a controversial issue in the global financial hub, which has for decades imposed the strictest licensing standards as a way to maintain an edge in its public health system.

The city last year passed a law that allows doctors who graduate overseas to practice without taking a local licensing exam, in a move that many local doctors oppose.

Hong Kong’s leading medical stronghold has been sharply weakened by the latest outbreak, with around 1,200 medical staff infected as of last Wednesday.

Authorities also tightened restrictions from Thursday (24/2) in a city that has implemented some of the world’s strictest regulations. Residents will be required to wear masks for all outdoor sporting activities and will not be allowed to remove them to eat or drink on public transport.

with bars, gym and other businesses have closed and shopping malls empty as many residents work from home, the government said Tuesday that schools would start the summer break early and restart the new school year in August.

Many people in the city are getting tired of the situation, while many other big cities are starting to learn to live with the virus. [uh/ab]