Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau has dismissed suggestions that the SAR government has given up on trying to arrange quarantine-free travel to the mainland.
In an exclusive interview with RTHK, Lo said the situation has already improved since he took office.
“Many people say we have half-given up, or given up, opening up the border with the mainland. I have to emphasise that we would not give up. The border is always open, and the question is how we can improve the quota and quarantine measures,” said Lo.
“I’ve assumed office for a month. Since then, crossing the border has become smoother. Shenzhen authorities have implemented many measures to improve the process. This includes increasing the quota for quarantine rooms from 1,300 to 2,000, and setting up the ‘caring corridor’,” he said.
The health chief also called on people not to let their guard down against Covid-19, saying the recent death of a 22-month-old girl who was perfectly healthy before contracting the coronavirus serves as a reminder that the disease should not be taken slightly.
In the interview, Lo also conceded that the turnover rate of doctors and nurses in the public healthcare system has been rather high in recent times.
He noted this is especially the case with doctors aged between 34 and 39.
“We must find the cause and see why these young doctors – many of them just obtained their specialist qualification – would choose to go to the private market or leave,” he said.
“Of course, individual doctors may be emigrating, each person has their own reasons and it may be a short-term problem. But we have to focus on why the young doctors are leaving,” Lo added.