As Covid-related restrictions continue to have a negative impact on our livelihoods, we hope that the launch of the Chamber’s “Hong Kong We Can Do It! Lucky Draw” will help boost spirits and raise vaccination rates in the city.
Thousands of citizens are set to be winners in this series of seven lucky draws. Prizes worth over HK$43 million have been donated by our member companies and are on offer to all who have been vaccinated and have played their part in Hong Kong’s recovery.
The Government’s digital consumption voucher scheme also launched recently, providing HK$5,000 for citizens to spend. This incentive has also been well received by businesses, who will benefit from the injection of cash after struggling with the impact of the pandemic for well over a year.
More good news came in June with the announcement that Hong Kong would ease some of its pandemic measures, including shorter quarantine periods and an increase in gathering sizes. Although these are all steps in the right direction, we are still slower in our reopening than other cities.
In California and New York State, most restrictions were lifted last month after they reached the milestone of more than 70% of people vaccinated. The European Union has started to issue “Covid passports” to citizens that will allow them to travel freely within the bloc. As of mid-June, more than 50% of E.U. residents had received at least one shot.
Although legitimate concerns about new variants and associated spikes in cases remain, the broad progress towards reopening is great news. Hong Kong’s challenge is to balance safety with the reopening our economy needs, and that requires more people to be vaccinated. This is one of the best places in the world to do business because of our openness and cosmopolitan society, and the longer we have to remain locked down, the greater the risk we will lose our competitive edge.
The city’s track record in containing the virus is something we can all be proud of and is an important demonstration to the world of Hong Kong’s capabilities. Those of us who have had our vaccines will attest to how smooth the whole process is, from booking an appointment online to receiving the shot. Moreover, Hong Kong’s Covid-testing facilities have been able to consistently process large numbers of people and deliver the results quickly, and our track-and-trace system has worked remarkably well in catching infections before they spread too far.
The Chamber’s Lucky Draw, paired with the Government’s consumption vouchers, will give Hong Kong people something to look forward to in the short-term as well as a bit of entertainment throughout the summer months. We hope to see the city’s vaccination rates increase further, so we can all plan for a brighter future.