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CE says she’s looking at easing 21-day quarantine

23 March 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says she's aware of the huge impact of the 3-week isolation

Chief Executive Carrie Lam says she is aware of the huge toll on people of Hong Kong’s 21-day quarantine, so she’s looking into whether the isolation period could be brought back to 14 days in line with most other places.

Speaking at a press briefing before today’s Executive Council meeting, CE Lam admitted that the long isolation imposed on new arrivals in Hong Kong is very stringent, “but the fact is, we continue to have about 10 or so cases confirmed beyond the two-week period.”

However, she said she was “fully and acutely aware” of the pressure that the extended quarantine has put on a lot of people.

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“To be isolated for 21 days is a huge load in terms of physical, psychological and other aspects,” Lam said.

She promised to personally look into whether the quarantine period could be cut while ensuring that there are enough safeguards so that infected travelers do not spread the coronavirus in the community.

Hong Kong has begun quarantining all incoming travelers in designated hotels for two weeks starting in December. But this period was extended to three weeks, the longest known in the world, after experts said the virus could incubate for longer than 14 days.

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Before the quarantine, all arriving passengers from places outside China (excluding Macau and Taiwan) must test negative for the virus at the airport, and during two more tests taken during the 12th and 19th day of their isolation.

8 of 12 new Covid-19 cases were imported, including 4 from Pakistan (file)

Meanwhile, of the 12 new Covid-19 cases reported today, eight were imported. Four came from Pakistan, two from the Philippines, and one each from Indonesia and France.

All tested positive on arrival at the airport, except for a 37-year-old Filipino male who was found infected while in quarantine at the Ovolo Hotel in Aberdeen.


Of the four local cases, only one had an unknown source. It involves an 88-year-old man who was taken to United Christian Hospital on Monday because of fever and shortness of breath.

Health authorities say the patient had been to a Chinese restaurant in Lam Tin where two other infected patients had dined during the incubation period. The elderly man also lives in the same public housing as one of the two but it’s not certain if they knew each other.

CE says she will talk to other governments
on having travel bubble among vaccinated travelers (File)

At the same press briefing, Lam said she would talk with overseas governments for deals that could allow cross-border travel of vaccinated residents.


Her statement affirmed plans by the government to offer incentives to residents who get themselves fully vaccinated such as exemptions from travel restrictions and social distancing measures.

But the chief executive stressed that the main motivation for people who get vaccinated should be to protect themselves and their family from coronavirus infection.

She said the vaccines will protect a person from getting infected. But even if they get infected after taking the jab, they will be able to avoid getting seriously ill.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

So far, she said about 360,000 people in Hong Kong have been vaccinated, accounting for about 6% of those aged 16 and above who are qualified  to take the jab.

“That’s not bad, but there’s surely room to do better,” she said.


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