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Social distancing to be relaxed

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government plans to adjust the social distancing measures for restaurants based on staff and customers having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and patrons using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile application.   Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the statement during a press conference today, noting that Hong Kong was entering a new phase in its fight against the virus.   Under the “vaccine bubble”, the number of people allowed to be seated together at one table in restaurants will be increased from four to six, and their dine-in service can be extended from 10pm to midnight on the condition that all staff have been vaccinated and patrons use the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app.   Customers using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app when entering the eatery would no longer need to fill in their personal information on a paper form.   If all the restaurant staff are fully vaccinated with both doses, plus 14 days for

Vaccine protection under scrutiny

Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan said experts of the Joint Scientific Committee under the Centre for Health Protection will monitor the situation of new COVID-19 variants and review the data on the protection of various vaccines against such variants.   Speaking to the media after attending a radio programme today, Prof Chan noted that the committee has given information about the protection of different vaccines against the new variants.   She said: “According to the experts, the BioNtech vaccine is able to protect against some of the variants of concern. For the Sinovac vaccine, they are still waiting for further information from Sinovac.   “The experts will continue to monitor the situation and review any data provided to the Department of Health.”   For the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, which the Government has signed an advance purchase agreement with, Prof Chan said the Government is aware of the news reports concerning the vaccine in different countries.   “We also notice there is news from the World Health Organization and also some countries most recently said that all the adverse effects are not related to or do not have a direct relationship with the vaccination of the AstraZeneca vaccine.   “We will continue to monitor the situation and the Department of Health has asked the manufacturer for further information.”   She explained that regarding the procedure, the manufacturer must first apply for approval for use in Hong Kong and the Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines will review the data before it recommends it for authorisation by the Government.   Such a process has not yet started, Prof Chan added.
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