As the Covid-19 pandemic is still holding much of the world in its grip, vaccination is more of a necessity rather than choice. The government’s determination to reopen the border with the mainland amid threats of a new variant means some restrictions may be further tightened to help lower the risks. Such steps are controversial and require careful deliberations. The mandatory use of the risk-exposure app “Leave Home Safe” in public wet markets, libraries and other government sites will be extended to restaurants and cinemas starting from December 9. Those who have not been vaccinated may also be banned from entering restaurants, sports venues and other high-risk premises under the so-called “vaccine passport” or “vaccine bubble” being considered by health authorities. The measures will probably be supported by those who are keen for quarantine-free travel to the mainland. They argue that the city has been working so hard to reopen the border that a few more restrictions would not be unreasonable. But others say the mandatory use of the tracing app has already inconvenienced people who are less technology savvy. With the city’s epidemic situation relatively stable over the past few months, it can be argued that the restrictions should be eased rather than tightened. Given the threats and uncertainties arising from the Omicron variant and the border reopening, the authorities may want to err on the side of caution. The situation is further compounded by the city’s vaccination rate. Even though it has recently hit 70 per cent for the first shot – there is still room for improvement, in particular among elderly groups. That explains why the vaccine bubble may be extended to make more people come forward for the jabs. What is Hong Kong’s new health code and will it track users’ data? Such a move has negative impacts, though. Some restaurants warned that their business might drop. There are also concerns that the ban on unvaccinated citizens may be discriminatory. There are also those who are medically unfit for the jabs. Exemptions for people with justifications are therefore essential. With the global pandemic unlikely to subside soon, the need for more effective control can never be ruled out. But the measures must be well justified, taking into account the practical difficulties facing the people.