Hong Kong has to maintain zero-Covid coverage for now: Authorities advisor

Hong Kong must stick to its zero-covid strategy until more people are vaccinated, a government adviser told CNBC on Wednesday.

“If 95% of our eligible population are fully vaccinated with three doses, there is a chance we can open our border,” said Yuen Kwok-yung, who is part of the Hong Kong Expert Advisory Committee on Covid-19.

The Chinese city is far from achieving this goal. Only 68.6% of the total population had received two doses of a vaccine by Wednesday. according to government information. About 322,781 people, or about 4.4% of the population, received their third injection.

One way to increase vaccination rates is to require a vaccination certificate for daily living, said Yuen, who also heads the microbiology department at the University of Hong Kong.

“Maybe this is [the] This is the only way to ensure, as in Israel, that a high level of vaccination coverage is achieved, “he said. Fully vaccinated people in Israel are a “green pass” that allows them to enter indoor locations such as restaurants, gyms and cinemas.

Zero Covid Strategy

At the moment, Hong Kong cannot change its strategies, Yuen told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia.”

“At this point it is the same. We have to continue with our current close to zero policy,” he said.

Hong Kong requires people who enter the city to Quarantine for up to 21 days and do multiple Covid-19 tests“Measures, Yuen said, are necessary to control the source of the infection.

But the city’s zero-covid approach is that too biggest frustration for overseas companies operating there, an analyst told CNBC on Tuesday.

However, Yuen said the city has no plans to maintain zero-Covid indefinitely only until it hits “adequate” vaccination rates.

“It’s impossible to keep it going for more than three years,” he added. “I think the government has to set a deadline for the coming years by which everyone has to have a vaccination certificate … to get around.”

Vaccination is compulsory for some activities in Hong Kong, but the borders for the unvaccinated are much looser than in places like Israel or Singapore.

Hong Kong has reported 12,548 confirmed Covid cases since the pandemic began, including 34 cases of the Omicron variant. according to government information on Wednesday.

– CNBC’s Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.