Lawmakers have urged the government to further relax immigration requirements to allow arrivals to undergo seven days of health monitoring at home instead of having to quarantine at hotels, saying there's a need to roll out policies that keep up with the rest of the world.
At a Legco health panel meeting on Friday, Roundtable legislator Michael Tien said authorities should consider the so-called "zero plus seven" policy, noting that there's no increase in imported cases after hotel quarantine is reduced to three days.
"It's absolutely important and there's definitely an opportunity for us to relax to 'zero plus seven'. I have known people who said they don't trust our government's long-term Covid policy. Businesses are saying the same. We are losing talent to neighbouring areas. We are losing businesses," he told reporters after attending the meeting.
"I just have to think of Hong Kong maintaining our status, or regaining our former status, instead of losing our talent and businesses."
Tourism sector lawmaker Perry Yiu agreed, adding that the travel industry hasn’t benefitted much from the “three plus four” arrangement so far.
In response, Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said Hong Kong is not in a position to scrap hotel quarantine yet as infections are still on the rise.
"In terms of resuming quarantine-free travel with the rest of the world, we need to consider the epidemic situation in Hong Kong and the impact on our economy. We need to let the data speak. And after we've implemented the 'three plus four' model, we have been collecting data. But meanwhile, we are aware of the increase in the number of cases," he said.