Hong Kong will vaccinate 3-year-olds amid new COVID-19 rise
Hong Kong will vaccinate 3-year-olds amid new COVID-19 rise

Hong Kong will vaccinate 3-year-olds amid new COVID-19 rise

HONG KONG Hong Kong plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 3 years old, as infections rage through the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The announcement Monday came as the government reported 1,347 new cases, all but two locally acquired.

The wave, which is to blame for the omicron variant, has already prompted new restrictions limiting personal gatherings to a maximum of two households. Residents of Hong Kong have rushed to grocery stores to stock up on vegetables and to hair salons to get a haircut.

Authorities have imposed barricades on residential buildings wherever clusters of infections have been identified, and have already banned public eating after 1 p.m. Only vaccinated persons will be allowed in shopping malls and supermarkets, while places of worship, hairdressing salons and other establishments have been ordered to close. .

Vaccinations with Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for children aged 3 years and up begin to be given on Tuesday. Hong Kong has fully vaccinated 73% of its eligible population, children not included.

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With a population of about 7.5 million, Hong Kong currently has more than 7,000 people being treated for COVID-19 or awaiting hospitalization.

Hong Kong has adopted mainland China’s “zero tolerance” approach to dealing with the pandemic that requires quarantines, mask mandates, case tracking and closure of buildings, neighborhoods and entire cities, even when only a few cases are detected.

Beijing officials and Chinese state media say a “living with the virus” policy, as some countries have done, would overwhelm Hong Kong’s medical system.

The city has as registered a total of 22,980 COVID-19 cases and 219 deaths due to the virus.

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