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Travel industry urges scrapping of hotel quarantine as Covid cases drop to 523

23 April 2022

 By The SUN


CHP's Dr Albert Au and Hospital Authority's Dr Sara Ho at the press briefing

Health authorities reported 523 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, down by about 50 from the day before.

Among the new cases, 252 were confirmed via PCR tests, and 271 were reported by residents who tested themselves using rapid test kits.

They took the city’s total infection figure in the fifth wave of the pandemic to 1,188,800, with 9,023 related deaths.

For the first time since the Omicron surge, the death toll dropped to single digit, with nine new fatalities recorded. The patients were aged between 66 and 102 years old.

Thirteen of the new cases were imported from countries such as Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore.

Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection said he believed that the number of people returning to Hong Kong would be capped due to the limited number of rooms in designated quarantine hotels.

From May 1, even non-residents will be allowed to enter Hong Kong and will have to fight with returning residents for the available hotel rooms.

Au stressed the CHP’s top priority is to ensure all returnees test negative before arrival, following the relaxation of border control measures.   

Meanwhile the Travel Industry Council has welcomed the government’s easing of travel restrictions, which also include raising the threshold for invoking the flight suspension mechanism.

But TIC leaders said people will still stay away from Hong Kong as long as the seven-day hotel quarantine for new arrivals remains in place.

Speaking on a radio show, the council’s chairwoman Gianna Hsu said , “We don't think we can start our business to overseas or any tourist is coming to Hong Kong... We hope that the government will have the timetable and lift the quarantine policy as soon as possible."

The council suggested officials could consider letting people quarantine at home again and to scrap the flight suspension policy when the infection situation eases further.

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