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Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po speaks to the press on the Hong Kong government’s HK$10,000 cash handout for 2020, at the government headquarters on June 8 last year. Photo: Felix Wong

Letters | Hong Kong coronavirus: why not give out cash for actually doing something?

  • The Hong Kong government has showered the public with cash handouts for doing absolutely nothing
  • Amid the widening spread of the Delta variant, why not give people handouts for taking two vaccine doses?

According to media reports, and as confirmed by Hong Kong government press releases, vaccine hesitancy is high and only 21 per cent of the Hong Kong population has been fully vaccinated.

In a public health move, the government announced that it will suspend passenger flights from the United Kingdom from July 1, due to rising cases of the Delta variant there.

But – that’s also a blow to local commerce. I am saddened that the vaccine take-up rate is still so low – it’s so easy to do! Our vaccination process took only 30 minutes in total.

I have real concern for Hong Kong’s immediate future. At the moment, the world is seeing the widening spread of the Delta variant. We are lucky that the top-tier vaccines seem to afford protection against this variant.

But as the new variant circulates among unvaccinated people, it creates the potential for even more transmissible variants that could also mean worse outcomes for personal and community health.


The global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19

The global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19

Higher rates of inoculation will slow down the speed at which subsequent mutations can develop in the community.

Today’s vaccines may not be as effective against subsequent variants. So the potential public medical costs attributable to unvaccinated Hongkongers could be very high for the city government.

In the past few years, the Hong Kong government has showered citizens with cash handouts for doing absolutely nothing! The last time was ridiculously easy – just a few lines to be entered on any Hong Kong bank website and money was received in the account.

Now it’s time for a new handout – for doing something.

It would be so easy to use the same basic programme to give each Hong Kong resident HK$5,000 in their local bank account, upon proof of their having received a second vaccine dose.

Again – the reason is to achieve a better chance of herd immunity within Hong Kong, and slow down the spread of this and future variants, until updated vaccines are available and/or existing vaccines are proven to be effective against any future variants.

Pay a small amount now – or a much higher price later.

Ralph Bishop, Pok Fu Lam