Top epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling says he no longer sees any rationale for quarantining inbound travellers, and believes the measure should be completely dropped.
The Chief Executive, John Lee, has said he is considering reducing the seven-day hotel quarantine requirement and replacing it with home isolation. However, Professor Cowling – from the University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health – said on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme that he disagreed with quarantine per se, saying that it hadn't achieved its stated objectives.
Noting that the justifications for home quarantine are the same as those given for hotel quarantine – namely to reduce the burden on Hong Kong's healthcare system and stop new sub-variants from arriving in the city – Professor Cowling said merely changing the type of quarantine would be "illogical".
"The sub-variants are already here," he said. "Switching to home quarantine makes no sense to me. If the reason for home quarantine were the same as hotel quarantine, it would be illogical."
Professor Cowling was discussing an article by four specialists from HKU in which they argue that any government measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 and lower case numbers can only slow infections down.
Meanwhile, a pandemic adviser to the government, Lau Yu-lung, said expert committees will discuss early next month whether to allow children younger than three to receive Sinovac coronavirus jabs.
Lau said on an RTHK programme that if all goes smoothly, such children can hopefully get their first dose in September, and the second dose a month afterwards.
Sinovac is currently available for those aged three and above, and BioNTech for five and above.