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CS hails new electoral system

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has lasted for some time. To our great relief, the number of local confirmed cases has remained at low levels in recent days. The Government's multi-pronged strategy of continuously enhancing our anti-epidemic measures and preventing the importation of cases has proven effective.   Apart from keeping social distancing measures in place and mounting an extensive promotion of testing, we have specifically strengthened the manpower in contact tracing as this is a particularly crucial measure in cutting the chains of viral transmission.   The Department of Health's Contact Tracing Office has redoubled its efforts in speeding up the process of identifying close contacts. Their sterling efforts in contact tracing in the gym cluster last month have significantly helped in suppressing rebounds within a number of days. This was a remarkable success.   For this, I must thank all those who have helped, including some 200 colleagues seconded f

Vaccine recommendations published

The two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection convened a meeting today to provide recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccination for those with previous COVID-19 infection.   Joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel, the committees also discussed the existing evidence on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against different variants.       The meeting noted that previous COVID-19 infection usually confers immunity for at least six to nine months for the majority of patients. There is accumulating evidence showing that those previously infected with COVID-19 would be further protected by one dose of mRNA vaccines.   After receiving one dose of mRNA vaccine, these people may experience more systemic side effects, such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, when compared to those without prior infection.   People who wish to receive the mRNA vaccine should wait for at least 90 days after discharge from previous infection.   The meeting also noted that in general, studies have shown that the existing vaccines work well against the non-variant. The effectiveness data against variants differ by vaccines.   The Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the variants which first emerged in the UK and Brazil, but is less effective against the South African one.   There is currently limited efficacy data of CoronaVac developed by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) against variants.   The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford is effective against the UK variants but is ineffective against the South African one.   The meeting also agreed that the combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus. There is a need to continue social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of transmission.
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