2022 – Hong Kong sees no change in Covid Curbs before July 1 from Bloomberg

© Bloomberg. Visitors scan a QR code for the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 contact tracing app before entering a shopping mall in Hong Kong, China, Saturday, April 30, 2022. Meeting safety requirements in China and meticulous handling of Covid-19. Photographer: Chan Long Hei / Bloomberg

Outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong will not tighten virus restrictions before July 1 despite the rise in Covid cases because hospitals are not overcrowded.

“The increase in the number of positive cases has not put an unbearable strain on the health care system, and that is the nature of Omicron,” Lam said Tuesday at the latest weekly news conference for her tenure, which ends on June 30.

Hong Kong recorded 737 new infections on Monday, up from more than 800 on Saturday and Sunday but more than double the number in May. Of the 371 people hospitalized with Covid, only three were in intensive care, with most other patients either asymptomatic or reporting mild infections.

Based on this situation, she said, “we will not make any major adjustments or mitigations” to contain the virus until the end of June, adding that the city must continue to be vigilant with imported cases and maintain measures such as masks. Confusion and restrictions on large gatherings.

find balance

Lam also said Hong Kong must strike a balance between the “dual goals” of facilitating international border controls, which are vital to its reputation as a financial hub, and creating the conditions for the resumption of quarantine-free travel with the mainland. China continues to pursue a strict policy on the Covid-Zero virus, in an effort to eliminate all cases and send communities into quarantine due to small numbers of mild infections.

While Lam acknowledged that business chambers had urged Hong Kong to scrap the mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine for incoming travelers, she said she could not ease the measures without knowing the plans of her successor, John Lee.

If we were to relax the quarantine rules tomorrow, Lam said, “but after two weeks the new government decided that maybe this should go back to a stricter approach, and that would create a lot of confusion.”

Lee’s term begins on July 1, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British rule to China – a major event that President Xi Jinping is believed to be preparing to travel to the city if favorable conditions are met.

Lam did not confirm whether the city’s rising case numbers would prevent the Chinese leader from visiting Hong Kong, which would be his first trip outside mainland China since January 2020.

“Obviously we want to have a happy atmosphere to celebrate the reunion,” she said.

© Bloomberg LP 2022

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