'Ease Covid rules when 90 percent of HK fully jabbed' - RTHK
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'Ease Covid rules when 90 percent of HK fully jabbed'

2022-03-19 HKT 11:47
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  • 'Ease Covid rules when 90 percent of HK fully jabbed'
Government expert adviser Ivan Hung on Saturday said that Hong Kong could gradually relax social distancing measures when the epidemic further eases and when over 90 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Speaking on a radio programme, the University of Hong Kong professor said he believes Hong Kong has already reached herd immunity, with the population either infected or vaccinated.

He said when infection risks drop, officials can gradually resume evening dine-in services and reopen outdoors sports and leisure facilities.

"Looking at the number of new cases diagnosed every day, together with the overall vaccination rate – if with two doses you can reach over 90 percent – then I think it would be a good time to gradually relax these infection-control measures," Hung said.

"Overall, I think the herd immunity is getting there, especially that the current circulating strain is the Omicron BA.2, which is probably the most contagious strain, and most people have been infected with that strain. So we are in a much better position to gradually open up."

Hung said international travel can also resume in future, with no quarantine needed for visitors who test negative upon arrival.

Visitors who test positive at the airport but have been fully vaccinated only have to observe a week of home isolation, he suggested.

Speaking on the same programme, health secretary Sophia Chan said officials have to consider any relaxation of infection-control measures carefully, saying a Covid rebound might occur if people don't keep their guards up.

She also revealed that officials are getting the Penny's Bay isolation facility ready to receive elderly Covid patients who can take care of themselves, but still need close monitoring.

Chan said the arrangement can hopefully start this month.

The health chief added that some elderly patients with mild symptoms can still isolate at home, if they can care for themselves, or their family can take care of them.