‘People’s safety comes before reopening borders’

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has brushed aside concerns that Hong Kong is too slow in reopening its borders, saying while her administration does want to resume cross-border travel, it must not sacrifice the safety of Hong Kong people.

Her comment on Tuesday comes a day after the government announced a decision to postpone the SAR’s travel bubble with Singapore for a second time, following a surge in infections in the Lion City.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam was asked if she was concerned that Hong Kong could be left out of the “global re-opening” when the US and countries in Europe are looking to resume travel this summer.

She stressed while it is important to resume activities like travel, her top priority is still to keep the city safe.

“We will not sacrifice this very important mission just because we want to rush to resume travel,” the CE said.

“This highly responsible attitude is being displayed by Singapore and Hong Kong in postponing for a second time the air travel bubble, and I hope this is appreciated by the people of Hong Kong, and also by the global community, because fighting Covid-19 is a global endeavor.

“We need solidarity and cooperation in order to effectively fight Covid-19,” she added.

However, Lam said there is no need to review or suspend the Return2HK scheme, where Hong Kong residents who return to the city from the mainland or Macau are exempted from quarantine.