Virus restrictions to stay for a while: Sophia Chan - RTHK
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Virus restrictions to stay for a while: Sophia Chan

2020-04-24 HKT 10:55
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  • Virus restrictions to stay for a while: Sophia Chan
The Secretary for Health says it's unlikely that social distancing measures implemented to control the coronavirus epidemic will be relaxed anytime soon.

In an exclusive interview with RTHK, Sophia Chan expressed hope that the public can accept this as a "new norm".

"It seems like the situation outside is still unstable. And we don't want to relax too much,” the health chief said.

“Everyone has been saying 28 days without local cases [means it's ok]. We will use that as a criterion. But even if that does happen, we still have to look at our capacity to cope,” she said.

“If we have an outbreak... we can all of a sudden have a few hundred or few thousand cases in a day. If that happens, then what?"

Over the past few months, some people have likened the government's Covid-19 measures to slowly squeezing toothpaste out of a tube, saying it's not been acting fast enough.

Asked what mark or grade she would give the government for its action in the crisis, Chan said that is for the public to decide. But she stressed that the authorities have already tried their best, while admitting there's room for improvement.

"I think that mark is best left for the public to give, and not myself. You just asked whether we acted too slowly. Maybe sometimes we're slow in telling people what we're doing. Quite often when we think ... we think many steps ahead.”

“But when we make announcements, it's true we may not always tell you the whole plan. We have been thinking about many things and may have been making preparations, but we might not have communicated it very well. I think in this area, there's room for improvement."

Chan said being one of the main leaders in Hong Kong's fight against the global coronavirus pandemic has been a big challenge for her.

She said that on one hand she has to handle ever-changing information on the crisis, and on the other she has to think of the next step forward, and handle sudden outbreaks.