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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 recommendations published

The two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection convened a meeting today to provide recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccination for those with previous COVID-19 infection.   Joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel, the committees also discussed the existing evidence on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against different variants.       The meeting noted that previous COVID-19 infection usually confers immunity for at least six to nine months for the majority of patients. There is accumulating evidence showing that those previously infected with COVID-19 would be further protected by one dose of mRNA vaccines.   After receiving one dose of mRNA vaccine, these people may experience more systemic side effects, such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, when compared to those without prior infection.   People who wish to receive the mRNA vaccine should wait for at least 90 days after discharge from previous infection.   The meeting also noted that in general, studies have shown that the existing vaccines work well against the non-variant. The effectiveness data against variants differ by vaccines.   The Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the variants which first emerged in the UK and Brazil, but is less effective against the South African one.   There is currently limited efficacy data of CoronaVac developed by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) against variants.   The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford is effective against the UK variants but is ineffective against the South African one.   The meeting also agreed that the combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus. There is a need to continue social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of transmission.
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