Vaccination against the coronavirus holds the key to the return of Hong Kong and the world to pre-Covid-19 normality. But as important as being civic-minded is for the economy and livelihoods, whether to get vaccinated remains a personal choice. The government’s decision to scrap a plan tying immunisation to foreign domestic helpers’ contracts is a wise move given the outcry over perceived discrimination. Its ordering of another round of mandatory testing for helpers cannot be viewed in the same light, though. The first round of testing for all foreign helpers other than those who were fully vaccinated ended on May 9. Just two days after its completion, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced a second bout beginning this Saturday with a screening deadline of May 30. Most of the city’s approximate 370,000 helpers are from Indonesia and the Philippines and their consulates general and support groups complained of unfairness. There have been accusations that the process is a cover for forced vaccination, given the exemption for those already immunised. Repeated Covid-19 tests just ploy to force us to get jab, Hong Kong helpers say One reason given by authorities for the first mass testing was the emergence of a local mutated variant of the coronavirus with three of the cases involving helpers. But the source of the infection has been traced to a visitor from Dubai and gatherings in Chai Wan and Sham Shui Po, and it would appear to have been contained. Arguments have also been made that if helpers have to be tested, so, too, should their employers and those that they care for. Officials have dismissed the latter as being a logistical impossibility given the large number of people involved, put at more than a million. Helpers are not the only ones required to be tested; it has become second nature to medical personnel, staff of homes for the elderly and disabled, transport workers and those in the catering and fitness industries. For many, being fully vaccinated offers sufficient protection and further regular testing is not necessary. Domestic work involves a variety of duties, some similar to those carried out in other sectors of the economy that mandate regular screening, such as caring for the elderly and children and food preparation and cooking. Ensuring such workers are not infected and pose no risk to those around them is a matter of common sense. Disease prevention is a challenging task, especially when confronted by the global spread of the coronavirus and its constant mutation. Strategies have to be constantly reviewed and, when necessary, quickly revised. We are in the midst of a health emergency and those most vulnerable to infection have to be monitored and convinced of the benefits and safety of vaccination. The government has a role, so, too, do employers, but those carrying out work that puts others at risk have to understand their own obligation.