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With HK relaxing anti-Covid measures, would quarantine be next?

05 May 2022

Quarantine restrictions are an obstacle to Hong Kong's travel industry revival.

Covid-19 cases have not increased despite the recent relaxing of anti-pandemic measures, prompting experts to encourage the government to remove more obstacles to the push toward the normal.

For example, Hong Kong still quarantines arriving passengers in hotels for seven days, and is one of the few remaining places with such a travel restriction.

Dr. Ho Pak-leung, microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong, told a local radio program that a lot of places have dropped quarantine and testing arrangements for travelers.

Hong Kong could follow suit to revive its travel sector.

"We should catch up," he said. 

"I hope the new government will do better in terms of boosting vaccination and putting in place targeted anti-epidemic measures so life could return to normal sooner," added Dr. Ho, who is also chairman of the Health Protection Program for Antimicrobial Resistance in the Centre for Health Protection, and chairman of the Specialty Board in Clinical Microbiology and Infection at the Hong Kong College of Pathologists.

After all, recent indicators point to a waning trend in the Covid-19 spread.

World Health Organization, for example, reported: “During the week of 25 April through 1 May 2022, over 3.8 million cases and over 15,000 deaths were reported, decreases of 17% and 3% respectively, as compared to the previous week,” the report said. 

Dr. David Hui, chairman of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and also an adviser on the government's coronavirus strategy, asserted that the city's pandemic situation has stabilized.

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He noted, for example, that Covid-19 cases had not increased even after the government relaxed some social distancing restrictions last month.

He also noted the lowered infection risks for people dining out because of the introduction of the vaccine pass and policies requiring restaurants to improve their ventilation by installing high efficiency air purifiers. 

But Hui also cautioned that Covid-19 has become endemic.


"After we had a serious Covid outbreak here, it's difficult for the virus to disappear. Many people without symptoms are carrying and transmitting the virus in the community. The antibody level of those vaccinated drops over time. This is how powerful Omicron is. It's become endemic and will continue to exist in our community," he said.

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