Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam said at a press conference yesterday that starting next month, Hong Kong residents in the Mainland can return to Hong Kong without quarantine for 14 days.
Carrie Lam said that the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has declined steadily, but there were still five local cases in the past week, four of which were of unknown origin. The Hong Kong Center for Health Protection has conducted research in the past three to four weeks, but it has not found that cases of unknown origin are significantly related to regions and occupations. She said that she would continue to follow the development of the epidemic.
In terms of foreign import prevention, she said that the SAR government has strictly controlled imported cases from 14 high-risk countries, requiring people from relevant countries to have a negative nucleic acid test before boarding and booking a designated hotel for 14 days of quarantine.
Regarding customs clearance with the Mainland, Carrie Lam said that starting next month, Hong Kong residents in the Mainland will be the first to be exempted from the 14 day quarantine upon returning to Hong Kong. There will be quotas at the beginning of the measure.
Carrie Lam stressed that the SAR government has not slackened and is reviewing four major policies including testing, tracking, quarantine and treatment. In terms of testing, she said that Hong Kong’s testing capabilities have improved, but it is necessary to study where the testing capabilities will be effective for epidemic prevention; experts recommend that people with mild symptoms should be tested as soon as possible. Therefore, the hospital has ordered clinics to extend the free testing. The time for distributing sample bottles has been regularized for specific group testing.
Carrie Lam said that four long-term community testing centers will be established throughout Hong Kong. She urged citizens with symptoms to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, and asked private doctors to strongly guide those with mild symptoms to undergo testing.
In addition, the Hong Kong Airport Authority will pilot a rapid virus detection program starting this week to test the feasibility of rapid detection for arriving passengers.
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