Hospital Authority to relax visiting arrangements

  • Hospital Authority to relax visiting arrangements

The Hospital Authority said on Thursday that it’s looking to relax visiting arrangements in the coming weeks, now that the Covid situation has stabilised and the vaccination rate is going up.

The authority’s Chief Executive, Tony Ko, said it’s planning to let visitors who have had both doses of a Covid jab take a rapid test on the day of their visit, instead of a nucleic acid test 72 hours in advance.

He stressed that people would still have to wait two weeks after getting the second dose to reach a certain level of antibodies, before the authority let them enter hospitals with a negative rapid test result.

“We understand the need of the community and the carers of our patients. They want to visit their relatives and people they care about,” he said.

“With the overall epidemic condition under control, we do hope we can resume more visiting services as soon as possible.”

Ko added that he hopes to resume general visits at rehab wards and infirmary units, noting that visitors are only allowed in on compassionate grounds currently.

A patients’ rights advocacy group urged the authority to make an official announcement quickly, saying it was difficult for patients’ families and friends to plan visits at present.

“We just don’t know, so if the Hospital Authority has a plan, please announce it as early as possible so that we have an expectation [and] we have hope,” said Alex Lam, from Hong Kong Patients’ Voices,

Meanwhile, the authority’s chairman, Henry Fan, accused “a handful of medical workers” of smearing mainland-made Sinovac jabs, and urged them to stop.

He said some people have falsely claimed that the vaccine have caused deaths without mentioning by name the HA Employees Alliance, which has been accused of spreading misinformation about the Sinovac vaccine.