Time has come to relax social distancing curbs: CE - RTHK
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Time has come to relax social distancing curbs: CE

2020-05-05 HKT 11:06
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  • Time has come to relax social distancing curbs: CE
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the time has come to lift some of the social distancing measures that were introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The measures – which included the forced closure of a number of entertainment venues, and some restrictions on restaurant operations – are due to expire on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam said that there are several factors the government has to consider before lifting social distancing measures under its "suppress and lift strategy".

"I do feel very strongly, and also echoed by many people in society, that the time for some relaxation, for some lifting of the restrictions that we put on this social contact has come," she said.

"So I would just appeal to you to be a little bit more patient, we’ll make the decision and announce it as soon as possible."

Lam also responded to Monday's announcement that the Hong Kong economy contracted 8.9 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2020, making it the steepest plunge for a single quarter on record.

She described the situation as worse than the Asian financial crisis of 1998 and the 2003 SARS outbreak.

The CE reiterated that the SAR government has implemented a series of measures to safeguard the economy, including the two rounds of anti-epidemic funding.

Lam said infrastructure projects commissioned by the government will still go ahead as they will have a "buffering effect" on the economy, in particular the labour market.

She urged Legco members to pass the budget bill as soon as possible, and said she hoped the public works subcommittee will "expedite the vetting of the government's public works projects".