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CE says now is not time to relax as beaches closed off

16 March 2022

By The SUN 

CE Lam says move to close beaches was made reluctantly

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has told the public that this is not yet the time for relaxation, as she defended the decision to close public access to beaches managed by the government starting tomorrow.

Speaking at her regular Covid briefing, CE Lam said the government hesitated in taking the move, but was alarmed by reports that more people have been going to the beaches recently despite the continuing surge in infections.

“We are reluctant to take such a measure as there are some people who will go there for a walk, but we have seen people flocking to the beaches. We must take appropriate action to protect the system and ensure the safety of the people,” she said.


Previously, lifeguard services at the beaches were stopped and shower stalls closed off, in a bid to limit the number of people going there to swim and gather.

With the tightened directive, LCSD said it will cordon off all the beaches under its management to prevent the public from entering “in order to reduce crowd gatherings and the chances of virus transmission.”

Mrs Lam said data from the Octopus Card company showed more people have been going to the beach since the weather turned warmer, and that some don’t wear face masks.


She also said this was not the first time that the government had taken this move. At the height of the third wave last year, public beaches were also cordoned off, along with facilities nearby like barbecue pits.

Asked about a study by the University of Hong Kong that showed more than three million residents had already been infected by Covid-19 as of Mar 14, the CE said she was not in a position to comment on estimates done by academics.

But she conceded that “judging from the high numbers that we have seen, it will not be a surprise that there are still a lot of silent transmissions in society.”

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The updated infection figure from the Center for Health Protections shows the number of cases going up to nearly one million after more than 180,000 results from rapid tests that were reported late were confirmed today.

Mrs Lam warned that if people let their guards down and began going out again to gather, the transmissions will continue because “Omicron is very, very highly transmissible.”

She added, “That's why I repeatedly tried to convey the message this morning that this is not the time for relaxation. This is not the time for being complacent that Hong Kong’s epidemic situation is going to improve significantly in the short term.”


She conceded the surge in cases made the government’s very strict health protocols in the past “simply unrealistic” so they had to make adjustments in isolation and treatment requirements.

The hard lessons from the fifth wave will be taken into account in deciding on how tackle future waves of Covid-19 or any other virus to achieve the best results, she said. And any such future policies should take into consideration not just public health but also economic interests as well as people’s acceptance.

CE Lam and other HK officials welcome the 300 medical personnel from Guangdong

Later in the afternoon, Mrs Lam led a government delegation in meeting the biggest batch of medical personnel sent by the Mainland to help Hong Kong cope with the deluge in coronavirus cases.

The 300-member group made up of doctors, nurses and support staff will help look after patients in the community treatment center in AsiaWorld-Expo. An earlier batch of 74 people is already at work in the facility.

CE Lam said the backup group will enable the Hospital Authority to admit more patients into the AWE center.

She added the mainland group is made up highly qualified and well trained personnel, having come from the best hospitals in Guangdong. They were selected because of their knowledge of both Cantonese and English, and their extensive anti-epidemic experience.

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