Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the government is looking at opening up the city further, but any plans to do so depend on how well travellers comply with the new 0+3 arrival measures. The CE also said that relaxing the city’s current social distancing restrictions also depends on whether there is a rebound of Covid-19 cases after inbound travel measures were relaxed.
From September 26, overseas travellers no longer have to quarantine at a hotel after they arrive in Hong Kong. Instead, they must undergo a three-day medical surveillance period and must get tested for Covid-19 frequently during the first week after they land in the city. In addition, they are issued an amber health code, which will prevent them from entering crowded public places where they could spread the virus in the community.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Lee said, “In the 0+3 plan, we are requiring people to do tests on Day 2, Day 4 and Day 6 and also to do RAT (rapid antigen tests) continuously for seven days. If they don’t do this… there may be a rebound of cases simply because people are not complying with what they’re required to do. It affects my plan of looking at possible new areas where we can allow more free activities.”
Lee added that the government had to retain certain measures, such capacity limits in restaurants, overnight building lockdowns and compulsory testing notices because of the current Covid-19 situation in the city. “We still have around 4,000 cases every day, so it is still a high number, and 20% of our hospital service is still taken away because of Covid. We also have to protect the high-risk groups, including the elderly and the very young,” he said.
However, the CE added that the reverse quarantine plan for people who want to enter the Mainland from Hong Kong will not be affected by the local pandemic situation. “Whatever we do in Hong Kong, a person who goes through the [reverse quarantine] process will be independent of the number of cases that we have in Hong Kong,” he said.
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