Govt says commenting on Covid strategy is not illegal

The government on Sunday said it’s not against the law to “discuss views” on the effectiveness of its policies against Covid-19, as it stressed that “dynamic clearance” is the most effective way to cope with the pandemic.

In a statement, a government spokesman said there were media inquiry about whether it’s against the national security law to discuss the “zero Covid” target.

“In general, pure discussions of views are not against the law, and ‘dynamic clearance’ is the most effective anti-epidemic measure to protect the people and public health,” the statement said.

The spokesman said the administration must move quickly to cut the chains of transmission in order to achieve dynamic clearance, saying there would be dire consequences otherwise because the vaccination rate in the territory is “not high”.

The statement came in light of recent debates over whether Hong Kong should stick with “dynamic clearance” – under which authorities expect to see local cases but would move quickly to stamp out transmission chains – or move on to “live with the virus” as the Omicron variant rages across the city.

Legislator Junius Ho had earlier suggested that experts who suggested Hong Kong should “live with the virus” the way western countries do may had violated the national security law, because, as he put it, “guarding against imported cases and the resurgence of domestic infections” is a national policy.