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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 packaging issue probed

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   An investigation by BioNTech has revealed that packaging defects in its COVID-19 vaccine vials were caused by the crimping process and ultra-low storage temperature but did not affect the jabs' safety.   Director of Health Dr Constance Chan told a media session this afternoon that the Department of Health received a written notification from BioNTech today on its investigation into the packaging issue.   Dr Chan said: “Upon further investigation, samples (of the BioNTech vaccine vials with packaging defects) detected in Hong Kong were sent back to Germany for an investigation. They have done numerous tests and experiments on the vials concerned. They have also done tests in another fill and finish plant operated by Baxter.   “In the process, they found out that in the vials packed at the site which provided batches (numbered) 210102 and 210104, there were issues related to the so-called crimping process. Crimping is the process by which pressure is applied to the aluminium ring which affixes to the rubber stopper at the top of the vial.   “We received a report that the (defect in question) is related to the process of crimping and at the same time the condition of the ultra-low temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius. So that is why BioNTech has now decided to send the new vials from Baxter which have undergone repeated experiments and investigations, and that would exclude further occurrence of such an event.”
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