Govt urged to slightly relax Covid rules

An infectious diseases specialist on Wednesday urged the government to be more pragmatic and slightly relax its Covid restrictions, saying Hong Kong will have to endure the current wave of Omicron infections for months.

Dr Wilson Lam said the ban on evening dine-in services at restaurants had resulted in more people eating out for lunch, and crowds gathering during the day.

He said people could be given some leeway regarding their activities, as the fight against the Covid outbreak is expected to be a long one.

“[During the] Chinese New Year, people will not really totally stay at their homes. It might be more prudent to adopt a more pragmatic approach to allow a little bit of loosening of restrictions in the coming period of time,” he said.

“We have to fight this Omicron wave for an extended period of time. We might have to be more pragmatic.”

Meanwhile, residents of Yat Kwai House in Kwai Chung said they are frustrated that a lockdown of their housing block had been extended.

The government announced on Tuesday that the original five-day lockdown of the building – which is at the centre of an Omicron outbreak – would be extended for another two days until Friday.

A resident surnamed Chung called into an RTHK programme, saying he had lost his job because of the lockdown.

“I hope the lockdown won’t be extended again. I’m suffering as I’ve lost my freedom. My employer already told me not to go back to work even when the lockdown is lifted. He said tactfully that he will consider the situation again after the Chinese New Year. In effect, I’ve been fired,” he said.

Another resident surnamed Chan said she had tested negative for Covid-19 six times.

“I almost had a meltdown when I knew the lockdown would be extended. There could be cross-infections among the residents if we continue to be trapped in one place,” she said.