International students enrolled at universities in Hong Kong who are stuck abroad have appealed to the authorities to give them the same treatment on COVID-19 vaccine recognition as international domestic workers, in order to be able to return to in-person instruction.
Students who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and tried to fly to Hong Kong from Indonesia and the Philippines over the past year complained about the existing policy, describing it as discriminatory.
Some students said that they have been planning to travel to a third country and then enter Hong Kong but added that it was unaffordable, Erudera.com reports.
“The government recognizes Indonesia’s vaccination record for domestic helpers but not for other Hong Kong residents like us? How are we any different?” a third-year student at Chinese University who preferred to stay anonymous told South China Morning Post.
Most recently, the government reached bilateral agreements with the Philippines and Indonesia to recognize the COVID-19 inoculation certifications of workers, meaning arriving passengers from the two countries are permitted to enter Hong Kong, nevertheless, the latter are obliged to self-isolate for 21 days. On the other hand, students and other travelers from the two countries did not receive the same treatment.
Hong Kong has imposed tougher restrictions for 25 countries listed in “Group A,” reported to have the highest number of COVID-19 infections, including the US, the UK as well as the two Southeast Asian countries.
However, those included in Group A are allowed to return if they have received vaccines in Hong Kong, China, or other countries which are considered as “stringent regulatory authorities” (SRAs), but all must undergo quarantine for 21 days upon arrival.
Since spring 2020, Hong Kong has imposed a ban on all non-citizens and non-residents, whereas citizens and residents who entered the country had to quarantine for 14 up to 21 days.
So far, data has shown that Hong Kong has vaccinated around 60 percent of its population or a total of 4.06 million with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On Saturday, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported six new COVID-19 imported cases, bringing the number of infected persons to 12,100.
In the past 14 days, Hong Kong reported 64 new Coronavirus cases. Currently, the number of deaths associated with the virus stands at 212, whereas the total number of people recovered from COVID-19 reached 11,783.