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CE says flight ban won’t be lifted until 5th wave is over

10 March 2022

By The SUN


CE Lam says imported cases will add to the burden of medical frontliners  

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has dashed hopes that a flight ban on nine countries including the Philippines will be lifted anytime soon, saying people will have to wait until the current surge in coronavirus cases in Hong Kong has been put under control.

Speaking at her daily press update on the Covid situation, Mrs Lam said, “This is not the time to immediately lift the bans or else as a result a lot of people will rush to come back and inevitably amongst some of those people there will be infected cases. There may even be critically ill cases arising from the returns and that would add a lot of pressure to our public hospital system.”

She was responding to a question on whether the flight ban should already be lifted, given that the number of imported cases lately is just a fraction of locally acquired infections.


The flight ban, originally imposed on Jan 8, has been repeatedly extended, with the latest extension set to expire on Apr 20. Aside from the Philippines, it also covers Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the United States and United Kingdom.

Anybody who had stayed in any of these nine countries for at least two hours within the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.


Mrs Lam cited the recent case of a CX flight from Indonesia, in which more than 20 passengers tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong.

“We had to look after those cases. I need to transport those cases either into hospitals or into isolation facilities,” she said.

Such operation added to the burden of the city’s frontline health workers, she said. “At this moment, it is not the time to add more pressure to their work.”

She said she has plans to open up Hong Kong again but they will have to wait until after the fifth wave of the contagion has been put under control, and if feasible, after a universal testing is carried out to track down the remaining infections in the city.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The CE also dismissed a suggestion that the government’s activation of an emergency alert system to inform the public that Queen Elizabeth Hospital had been designated as a Covid-only treatment facility had caused unnecessary alarm.

“I am aware that some people in society thought this was a good idea...They said they are happy to get news from the government through this channel,” she said.

Mrs Lam justified the use of the alert system by saying the city is “clearly in a public emergency situation right now” and that people needed to be informed because Queen Elizabeth had the busiest accident and emergency departments among all public hospitals.

The 280-bed San Tin isolation facility started taking in patients today

The focus of her daily briefing was, however, the construction of more isolation and quarantine facilities on seven more sites, including a plot on the Lok Ma Chau loop and the Kai Tak cruise terminal.

Ideally, she said all those who will test positive can be moved to an isolation facility, while close contacts are placed in quarantine centers.

Press for details

Separately, Secretary for Development Michael Wong said two isolation facilities have been put into service starting this month.

The Tsing Yi site which has 3,900 beds opened at the start of the month while a second one in San Tin, Yuen Long with 2,800 beds, has just accepted its first patients.

Wong said that six other community isolation facilities built with help from the mainland will start operating later this month.


After the conversion of public housing blocks and more than 30 hotels into isolation facilities, more than 70,000 units or beds are expected to be opened for use by Covid-19 patients in the next couple of months.

Security chief Chris Tang said these facilities will provide a selection of food to patients, as well as free newspapers, toys and internet connection. Cleaners will also be on duty around the clock to  maintain hygiene.



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