Share exposure records to re-open border, expert says

Respiratory medical expert, Leung Chi-chiu, said on Thursday that exchanging Covid exposure records is one of the things that mainland and local authorities have to work on before both sides can lift border restrictions.

His comments come a day after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she’s proposed to Beijing to have experts from both sides discuss conditions to ensure the safe reopening of the border.

Leung said on an RTHK radio programme the records are needed to trace potential patients to prevent the spread of coronavirus once a confirmed case is found in the community.

He explained that the records should involve commuters only.

“This only involves people going across the border, it wouldn’t affect the bulk of citizens in Hong Kong or the mainland…there should not be any contravention of privacy in that regard,” Leung told RTHK.

The doctor said the prompt exchange of data would be a way to avoid having to suspend the border re-opening once Covid-19 cases are found in either community.

Meanwhile, the expert also said the government should allow people to keep taking deep throat saliva tests, after it announced that it will be phasing out these tests.

The government said for the most part, only nasal swabs at testing centres are recognised for compulsory testing.

Leung said: “The saliva test has its intrinsic advantage. If the person tested is cooperative, I think for most adults, there shouldn’t be difficulties in getting a good specimen.”

He pointed out making it mandatory for people to go to test centres for swabs would increase cross-infection risks.