The vaccination pass scheme, requiring anyone entering certain venues in Hong Kong to have had the jabs, is an important part of the city’s defences against Covid-19. It was long overdue when introduced in February, as case numbers soared. The scheme limits access to government buildings and 23 other types of venue, including restaurants and shopping centres. Vaccination records must be shown at some locations while there are spot checks at others. The scheme was controversial. But it is intended to protect the unvaccinated and curb the spread of the virus. The inconvenience to those who do not have the pass acts as a strong incentive for people to get the jab. It has become a familiar part of Hong Kong life. But now that the city is opening up to foreign visitors, the scheme poses a problem. Tourists will have received their vaccines overseas and will not have the required pass. There is little point in promoting Hong Kong as a great destination for food, shopping and entertainment if visitors are banned from such venues. How Hong Kong vaccine pass scheme works if you’ve just arrived in city This week’s announcement of a “provisional vaccine pass” for arrivals to the city is, therefore, a welcome development. Recognised vaccination records from elsewhere can be declared and a provisional pass issued, giving the recipient access to venues covered by the scheme. Similar arrangements are made for those who have recovered from Covid-19. The pass lasts for 180 days. The government needs to make the online version available quickly, as there have been long queues for the pass at post offices. Incoming travellers should be aware that access to venues will be restricted to those with three jabs from the end of May. If they only have two when they arrive, they will need to get a third in Hong Kong. The city faces an uphill battle to lure tourists back. The requirement that they spend a week in a quarantine hotel, a key part of Hong Kong’s pandemic strategy, deters visitors when other places in the region have lifted travel restrictions. It is to be hoped that the city’s vaccination rate will soon reach such a high level that the need for a vaccine pass recedes. But until then, every effort should be made to make visitors welcome and ensure their trip here during the pandemic is smooth and enjoyable.