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It's now safe to relax Covid rules, say experts

2022-05-04 HKT 11:36
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  • David Hui says many restaurants have improved their ventilation so it's safer for people to dine out now. Photo: RTHK
    David Hui says many restaurants have improved their ventilation so it's safer for people to dine out now. Photo: RTHK
Medical experts on Wednesday said the government's plan to further ease Covid rules is safe as infections drop and more people get vaccinated.

Speaking on a radio programme, an adviser on the government's coronavirus strategy, David Hui, said the city's pandemic situation is stable as cases did not rebound last month even after some social distancing restrictions were relaxed.

He noted that the introduction of the vaccine pass has lowered the infection risks of people dining out, adding that many restaurants have improved their ventilation by installing high efficiency air purifiers.

The government has announced that beaches are to reopen from Thursday and restaurants will be able to seat up to eight customers per table, while people exercising outdoors will no longer need to wear masks.

Hui also said that Covid-19 has become endemic here and many places with even higher vaccination rates are not able to eradicate the virus.

"After we had a serious Covid outbreak here, it's difficult for the virus to disappear. Many people without symptoms are carrying and transmitting the virus in the community. The antibody level of those vaccinated drops over time. This is how powerful Omicron is. It's become endemic and will continue to exist in our community," he said.

Meanwhile, microbiologist Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong agreed that the relaxation of social distancing rules would probably not have a big impact on the city's epidemic situation.

He said the city is lagging behind other places in terms of bringing life back to normal.

Speaking on the same radio programme, he noted that a lot of places have already dropped quarantine and testing arrangements for travellers.

"We should catch up and I hope the new government will do better in terms of boosting vaccination and putting in place targeted anti-epidemic measures so life could return to normal sooner," he said.