The only candidate in this Sunday’s chief executive election, John Lee, acknowledged on Thursday that the city’s Covid-19 measures are causing inconvenience to the foreign business community, saying he would strive to keep Hong Kong international if he’s elected.
“I know that access to Hong Kong is important for both business development and the competitiveness of Hong Kong. And I know that the current measures are causing some inconvenience,” Lee told reporters after having online meetings with foreign business chambers, representatives of local firms and Hong Kong people living on the mainland.
The former chief secretary did not give a direct answer when asked whether he had told foreign business chambers he would shorten the current seven-day quarantine period for people arriving in the territory, and scrap the flight suspension mechanism.
“The current government is taking action to balance the measures against the need for economic development, economic need. It is a direction that we all aim to create certainty and clarity. We have to monitor the situation of Covid-19 very closely,” he said.
“But it is important for us to all note that Hong Kong’s competitiveness hinges on Hong Kong remaining international and remaining a very direct gateway to the mainland. So the position is very clear that, I, if elected, would work towards that goal. And I want to give an indication of how things will progress as much as I can.”
Lee also reiterated that resuming quarantine-free travel with the mainland would be top of his priority list, but added that the task would be challenging as there are still Covid cases in both Hong Kong and the mainland at present.
The former official said that to be able to reopen the border with the mainland, Hong Kong would first have to satisfy certain conditions, but he hopes to remove all obstacles in the process.
Meanwhile, Lee’s campaign manager, Tam Yiu-chung, said more than 1,000 people, including election committee members, Lee's campaign advisers and district leaders, will take part in Lee’s campaign rally at the Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Friday afternoon.
He said participants will be able to share their thoughts on Lee’s election platform and Hong Kong’s future.