Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced that the government will stop issuing compulsory isolation orders for Covid-19 patients after Chinese New Year. In an address to lawmakers on Thursday, Lee said that starting January 30, confirmed cases will no longer have to undergo quarantine at home, hospitals, or isolation facilities.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Dr Edwin Tsui, Controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said that the online declaration platforms for patients who test positive on PCR or rapid antigen tests will close from January 30. He added that community isolation facilities will remain open until the end of February for those who choose to use them, and they may stay there for up to seven days.
These developments come after the CE revealed to Hong Kong Commercial Daily earlier this week his hopes for all anti-epidemic measures to be removed, including the mandatory mask-wearing rule, by the first quarter of 2023.
Hong Kong recently removed most of its anti-epidemic restrictions in December 2022, including mandatory isolation for close contacts of Covid patients, on-arrival PCR testing for inbound travellers, and the vaccine pass requirement to enter public places.
After January 30, the only anti-Covid measures that will remain are the mask-wearing rule and antigen testing for groups the government considers vulnerable, including the daily testing requirement for schoolchildren and teachers before they enter campuses.
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