During her daily Covid-19 briefing on Thursday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that she will make an announcement about relaxing anti-epidemic measures in the coming week. The current restrictions, which came into force on February 22, are the most stringent since Hong Kong entered the Covid-19 pandemic and include a two-person cap on dining at restaurants and limit on household gatherings.
Previously, existing restrictions were expected to remain in place until April 20. However, due to the public’s growing impatience in the face of the anti-pandemic rules, Lam said that she will give a “comprehensive update” on matters such as “flight bans, quarantine period for arrivals, whether we are going to do this Compulsory Universal Test, the resumption of face-to-face learning in schools and social distancing measures” by March 20 or 21.
Explaining her reasoning behind the decision to potentially revise them one month ahead of schedule, Lam said, “I have a very strong feeling that people’s tolerance are [sic] fading. […] Some of our financial institutions are losing patience about this sort of isolated status of Hong Kong. So with this feedback given to me from various sectors and people, I will boldly take this step to update you on the mid-term about the future direction of some of those measures.”
During her daily press briefings which started last week, Lam has repeatedly been asked whether the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for international arrivals will be shortened, especially since the isolation requirement for local cases was eased in February.
Currently, those who test positive for the virus and awaiting hospital admission or sent to a Community Isolation Facility (CIF) are advised to take a rapid antigen test on Day 6 and Day 7 after their initial positive result. If they test negative and have received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, they are free to leave the CIF or their homes.