‘HK will tell mainland our Covid measures work’

Executive councillor Lam Ching-choi says officials are making efforts to explain to mainland medical experts that even though some of Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic measures are different to those across the border, this doesn’t mean they’re not effective.

A delegation of experts, including people from the Ministry of Health and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, have been visiting various places around the territory to inspect Hong Kong’s efforts to contain Covid-19.

Lam said if the experts’ visit goes well and a consensus on appropriate measures is reached, Hongkongers could soon be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to the mainland.

He noted that the SAR has not seen a community outbreak recently, even after some people infected overseas went out into the city.

Lam attributed this to improved contact-tracing by the authorities.

“After the fourth wave of the pandemic, our abilities in contact-tracing have been enhanced a lot. In the past, we mainly traced the close contacts [of a Covid-19 patient], now we can trace the contacts of the close contacts, and sometimes the third layer of close contacts,” he said.

“Therefore I believe Hong Kong officials will let mainland experts understand that although our way of contact-tracing might not be the same as the mainland, it is still effective.”

Lam also said the government aims to increase the vaccination rate among elderly people to 80 to 90 percent, to enable a full re-opening of the border.

Recent figures showed that only 45 percent of those aged 70-79 were inoculated against Covid, and only 17.5 percent of those aged 80 and above.