The chief executive noted it was in the employer’s interests to get their staff vaccinated in order to see more relaxed social distancing measures.
Answering questions from reporters on Monday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, said, ‘If they want a very strong and clear message from the Government, I’m now giving that very strong signal and message that they should move into the situation of requiring their employees to be vaccinated.
‘If they could not or refuse to vaccinate, then at least they should be required to produce, on a very regular basis, negative COVID-19 tests in order to enable them to continue to work.’
She noted that it was in the employer’s interests to get their staff vaccinated in order to benefit from more relaxed social distancing measures.
‘I don’t think we need to provide sort of tangible incentives to the private sector, as it is to their own benefit to require their employees to be vaccinated, so that Hong Kong could build up a defence as soon as possible to enable the Government to decide on more relaxations that they want to see – relaxations in the form of allowing more people and tourists to come in, relaxation in terms of the social distancing measures so that they could do more businesses,’ said Lam.
‘There is a common objective between the business world and the Hong Kong SAR Government – to increase the vaccination rate.’
CE Lam added the government had already done this with its own statutory bodies. Last week, the Hong Kong government ordered all government employees to get vaccinated or fit the bill of regular testing themselves. The mandate extends to the civil service, education, and health sectors.
The Airport authority announced similar regulations this week, saying that airport staff are to undergo mandatory vaccinations from 1 September and medical exemptions will no longer be accepted.
Lam isn’t the only world leader to push private companies to get their staff vaccinated, United States’ President Joe Biden echoed the same sentiments Monday.
‘I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up the vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people,’ Biden said speaking to reporters at the White House. He spoke after the Pfizer vaccination received full FDA approval this week, the first vaccine to do so.
‘If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” said the US president, ‘Do what I did: Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.’
The Biden administration announced in July that federal workers would need to show proof of vaccination or undergo stringent requirements including wearing masks and regular tests. Other US government bodies including the Pentagon are implementing new vaccine mandates.
‘If you’re one of the millions of Americans who said that they will not get the shot until it has full and final approval of the FDA, it has now happened,” Biden added
Singapore has implemented similar measures from 1 October, where currently unvaccinated employees in selected sectors—such as healthcare, F&B, and fitness—are required to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing.
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