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38-day Covid-free streak broken as policeman confirmed to be infected

Hong Kong’s 38-day streak without an untraceable Covid-19 case has ended, with a 35-year-old male policeman confirmed to have been infected today.

The Centre for Health Protection said a sample of the officer’s saliva had tested positive, but the result of another test conducted after he was admitted to hospital was negative.   

However, as a precautionary move, about 40 to 50 of the officer’s close contacts were being quarantined and further tests would be conducted to confirm if he was really infected, said officials.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has defended the government’s warning that those who have been inoculated against the virus may not be allowed to enter restaurants or entertainment venues if another wave of infection hits Hong Kong.

The idea was not meant to punish those who had not been vaccinated, but aimed at protecting public health, she said before today’s Executive Council meeting. 

A high vaccination rate would give us a “vaccine barrier” if we were unfortunately hit by a fifth wave of infection, she said.

If the ideal vaccination rate could be achieved by the end of August, then those measures would not be needed, she said.

Heeding a call from the government, more and more companies are providing different kinds of incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated, including cash handouts, air tickets, meal coupons, theme park tickets and anti-epidemic supplies.

The most eye-catching reward is a $10.8 million apartment donated by the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, a subsidiary company of the Hong Kong Sino Group and the Chinese Estates Holdings Limited. 

Lucy Lang, a university student, said the reward was attractive. “Hong Kong is known for its high housing prices. If you can get a flat, it will reduce a lot of burden on your life after graduation,” she said. 

The number of vaccination appointments for the Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines both surged on the day when the luxury apartment prize was announced. 

Alvin Wong, a citizen who has just received the second dose of the vaccine in the Kowloon Tong's vaccination centre, said: "I got vaccinated for my own safety. I think no one will get vaccinated just for the incentives. But incentives may work for some who are hesitant." 

However, Yoyo Chan, who has not yet been vaccinated, said: “Maybe it will be useful to someone who is hesitant, but these benefits will not tempt me.” 

She believes that the vaccine still has great risks. “I'm afraid I will die,” she said with a laugh.

Asked what kinds of incentives might get her to change her mind, she said: “Maybe coupons for famous brand bags will shake me a little, but I still care more about safety.” 

Another citizen at the vaccination centre who refuses to give his name said: “If more real estate developers and large enterprises cooperate by organising more lotteries and providing more prizes, it will be more attractive.”

As of 8 pm tonight, about 2.43 million doses have been administered in Hong Kong. Just under 1.4 million people have received the first dose and 1.03 million the second dose. About 47,600 new vaccination bookings have been made online over the past 24 hours.




《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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