Chief Executive John Lee said on Wednesday that the government will ensure that it “keeps the economy going” as it continues to rein in the Covid outbreak.
Giving a speech at the Hong Kong Summit, he said he understands the importance of keeping Hong Kong connected to the world and ensuring the city’s competitiveness, while safeguarding public health and people’s livelihood.
Lee also told the business sector that he’s aware of their wish to resume normal travel with the mainland.
“I hear you clearly. But I must stress that connecting with the world and connecting with the mainland are in no way contradictory to each other,” he said.
“On the latter, we have been maintaining good liaison with the mainland counterparts. We support and respect the mainland’s anti-epidemic strategy and maintain cooperation in joint prevention and control.
“My preliminary goal is to reduce the degree of inconvenience to travellers without bringing about additional risks to the mainland’s epidemic situation."
Meanwhile, Lee’s deputy, Chief Secretary Eric Chan, said the government will further relax Covid travel restrictions if conditions allow, adding that talks on resuming quarantine-free travel with the mainland are ongoing.
"We've been discussing actively with mainland authorities on how to resume the quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland. We will make announcements at suitable occasions," Chan told reporters after attending an “antechamber meeting” with legislators.
Several lawmakers, including the DAB's Ben Chan, said some Hong Kong students have been unable to travel to the mainland to study because of the quarantine requirements there.
"They received their offer in mainland universities. However, they cannot reserve the quarantine hotel [on] the mainland," Chan said, noting that the government is following up on his party’s suggestion of letting those bound for the mainland isolate in the SAR first before crossing the border.
The Federation of Trade Unions also said it’s reached out to central and local authorities to reflect the students' needs.
Last updated: 2022-08-17 HKT 15:22