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CE hints at 7-day quarantine for new arrivals, easing flight bans

17 March 2022

By The SUN


CE Lam says the infection rate in HK remains at high level but people's tolerance is wearing thin

In an apparent change of heart, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced today, Thursday, that the government might cut the quarantine period for new arrivals to seven, instead of the current 14 days.

She also hinted that Hong Kong will start opening its borders again, saying residents and businesses are losing patience with Hong Kong’s isolated status.

CE Lam said she will give an update on its coronavirus strategy on Saturday or Monday, despite saying previously that the strict social distancing measures and existing flight bans on nine countries including the Philippines, will remain in place until Apr. 20.


Speaking at her daily Covid briefing, Mrs Lam noted that many changes have happened in Hong Kong since she announced the strict tightening of pandemic restrictions on Feb 22.

“I think the time has come for the government to review all those mid-term measures announced on the 22nd of February. Just give me a little bit of time. When the one-month time comes, that is, on the 20th or 21st of March, I will give a comprehensive update of the situation…not because the number of cases has come down – they are actually at high-level plateau…”


“But I have a very strong feeling that people’s tolerance is fading. I have a very good feeling that some of our financial institutions are losing patience about this isolated status of Hong Kong,” she said, adding that she more than anyone, was anxious to preserve the city’s standing as an international financial hub.

The CE said the update will include existing measures, including flight bans, the quarantine period for new arrivals, planned compulsory universal testing, and class resumption.


She made the announcement after three microbiologists at Hong Kong University including government adviser Yeung Kwok-yung, wrote in an article published in Ming Pao Daily that flight bans should be lifted, and that fully vaccinated Hongkongers who come in should be allowed to self-isolate at home.

The three experts, including David Lung and Siddharth Sridhar, also called on the government to provide a road map for returning to normal life, so residents would regain hope and confidence.

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But speaking about the quarantine period for inbound travelers Mrs Lam said the period may only be cut from 14 to seven days, and that the government will still have to consider the possible burden on government hospitals.

She cited the Centre for Health Protection’s directive that allows Covid patients to end their isolation if they test negative on days six and seven on a rapid antigen test as the standard that would be followed.

“So in terms of consistency, there’s a very strong basis for us to apply more or less the same rule to arrivals.”


Her pronouncement came just one day after ordering all beaches closed to the public from tomorrow, saying data obtained from the Octopus Card company showed many people had been going for a dip since the weather turned warmer.

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