Expert calls for end to quarantine exemptions - RTHK
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Expert calls for end to quarantine exemptions

2020-07-12 HKT 16:11
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  • Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung says nobody arriving in Hong Kong should be exempted from undergoing quarantine. Photo: RTHK
    Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung says nobody arriving in Hong Kong should be exempted from undergoing quarantine. Photo: RTHK
  • Lo Chung-mau (R) said the book fair this week should be suspended, just like the Tokyo Olympics was. Photo: RTHK
    Lo Chung-mau (R) said the book fair this week should be suspended, just like the Tokyo Olympics was. Photo: RTHK
A government adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, Yuen Kwok-yung, said on Sunday that the administration should stop exempting some arrivals in Hong Kong from quarantine, and that such people should also be tested for Covid-19.

A substantial list of people who don't have to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in the SAR include those deemed essential for government operations, those importing daily necessities, and cross-border bus and truck drivers.

Yuen said as well as quarantine for all these people, tests should also be conducted on residents who have been in contact with confirmed cases, those with minor symptoms, as well as people living near those known to have become infected.

The microbiologist agreed with the authorities that it is still okay for this week's book fair to go ahead, saying Hong Kong cannot stop all economic and social activities.

But professor Yuen said there should be restrictions for people going to the fair, like banning food, requiring everyone to wear a mask, and making people rub their hands with alcohol before and after touching books.

Meanwhile, the head of The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, Lo Chung-mau, said he thinks the book fair should be suspended, noting that even the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed.

He said at RTHK's City Forum that the epidemic in Hong Kong is like "a wildfire", and anyone hoping to come to the SAR should be required to take a Covid-19 test in their place of origin and provide proof of a negative result before being allowed to travel to the city.

Professor Lo said countries in the West, such as Sweden, have been emphasising "self-discipline" for residents, but they have ended up with some of the worst outbreaks globally.

Winnie Yu, who chairs a hospital union that organised a strike in February demanding a full border closure in light of the pandemic, told City Forum that there should be large-scale tests for residents in Sha Tin and Tsz Wan Shan, where there have been clusters of cases in the past week.