Quarantined resident welcomes policy relaxation

A resident of a luxury apartment block in Pok Fu Lam on Friday welcomed the government’s relaxation of its policy to quarantine whole buildings where patients with a mutated strain of the coronavirus live, calling the arrangements “overkill”.

Pathologist John Nicholls, a resident of Royalton, said he was happy he would soon be allowed to return home after spending two nights at Penny’s Bay quarantine centre.

He and other residents of the building were ordered into quarantine facilities on Wednesday after a domestic worker living in the block came down with the highly infectious version of coronavirus.

Nicholls said that he had “big concerns” about the evacuation plan and thought that authorities had “overreacted”.

The professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Pathology said he had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and was never in direct contact with the infected domestic worker.

“From a scientific point of view, I was at a very, very low risk anyway,” Nicholls told RTHK’s Timmy Sung. “That’s why we thought that it was a bit of an overreaction.”

He said even though he understood the government was concerned about the variant spreading to the community, “the reality of the situation was not needing to do a whole apartment building … it was probably a bit of an overkill.”

The expert also said the quarantine had been “incredibly inconvenient,” saying he had been unable to do his clinical work and research.

Asked about the government’s move to shorten quarantine periods for fully vaccinated close contacts of coronavirus patients, Nicholls said he thought the move could boost the city’s inoculation rate.