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Health expert says HK must drop all anti-pandemic restrictions

05 October 2022

By The SUN


Hui says compulsory testing is no longer an effective tool in combating the coronavirus

A government adviser on the pandemic has called for the scrapping of all anti-pandemic measures in Hong Kong as soon as possible to allow the city to catch up with the rest of the world.

Chinese University professor David Hui made his call as the government announced that a total of 3,642 Covid-19 infections were recorded Wednesday, of which 324 were imported. The daily tally was up by about 400 from yesterday.

Ten more Covid patients have died, while 1,675 are being treated in public hospitals.


Hui said that compulsory testing orders which the Centre for Health Protection issues on residents of specified premises on a daily basis are no longer effective in combating the spread of the virus.

He said it was inevitable for the virus to be found in the sewage of certain buildings where infected residents are spending home isolation.

The same is true for the LeaveHomeSafe app, which restricts the entry to certain specified premises of people deemed high risk for Covid-19. He said the app is no longer effective in tracking the spread of the virus.


Hui also said the “0+3” arrangement which puts incoming travelers on a three-day amber code restrictions must also be abandoned if there is no rebound in cases in the coming days.

“The government should consider implementing the zero-plus-zero arrangement as soon as possible, preferably before November. There will be many large-scale conferences in November," Hui said.

He pointed out that the number of infections in Hong Kong has been slowly falling in recent days, as well as the number of deaths and patients getting hospitalized. At the same time, the vaccination rate has been going up.

“There absolutely are conditions to relax social distancing measures,” he said.

Air crew get a blue code on their return in HK but must undergo PCR tests for 5 days

Meanwhile, Hong Kong has dropped its so-called “closed-loop system” for locally based flight crew starting Tuesday, which means they can now leave their quarantine hotels freely when commuting overseas.

However, they are still advised to avoid going to bars or large-scale banquets.

The same rule applies when they return to Hong Kong, where they now get blue health codes on arrival. That means, they will not be prevented from going inside premises deemed high-risk such as restaurants.

Press for details

But unlike other new arrivals, air crew who spent time abroad will have to wait for a negative result of their PCR test at the airport, before being allowed to go home. They must also undergo PCR tests daily for five days after arrival.

Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union was quick to call on the government to drop these rules, saying they are tough on the crew, especially those returning from long-haul trips.

The union said exhausted air crew should be allowed to go home to rest after taking the Covid-19 test, instead of hanging out at the airport for between two to three hours to wait for their test results. 


There is also no need to subject them to daily PCR testing for five days while other travelers are required to do this on days 2, 4 and 6 after arrival. 

But following the announcement of the easing of restrictions, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, said the move was a “significant milestone” towards normalizing its operations.

The airline said it will add more flights, while continuing to pursue the removal of all restrictions on its crew.

The changes will also apply to Hong Kong Airlines Ltd., Greater Bay Airlines Co. and Cathay affiliate HK Express.

The rules were tightened amid the fourth wave of the pandemic last year, when two pilots and a flight stewardess were found to have left their homes in violation of restrictions, causing the spread of the coronavirus in the community.


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