Infectious diseases expert Joseph Tsang said on Monday that the government should consider requiring people to show a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result for Covid-19 before entering premises where masks are exempted, such as restaurants.
Tsang made the comment after a Covid-19 cluster linked to a Yuen Long restaurant grew to more than ten people.
Speaking on an RTHK programme, Tsang said taking masks off in places like restaurants involves risk of transmission. He also urged people, who've yet to take their third dose of Covid vaccine, to do so as soon as possible to protect themselves against the virus.
“We ask visitors to the hospitals to show their RAT result of the day of visit because we're very worried they may be asymptomatic patients. Children also need to do RAT before going to school in the morning,” he said.
“I don't know if the government will, after what happened [in the Yuen Long restaurant], require people to show a negative RAT result before entering the scheduled premises where they can take their masks off, in order to prevent such incidents from happening again.”
But the co-chairman of the Medical Association's advisory committee on communicable diseases said another community outbreak is unlikely. He said Hong Kong has now achieved relative community immunity, with most people having either contracted the virus or been vaccinated during the Omicron-driven fifth wave of infections.
Tsang also said the government could consider lifting the flight suspension mechanism if there is enough capacity in quarantine hotel rooms and if there’s no threat of deadly variants from other regions.