Easing of curbs 'a move in the right direction' - RTHK
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Easing of curbs 'a move in the right direction'

2022-09-23 HKT 17:31
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  • Easing of curbs 'a move in the right direction'
Politicians and health experts on Friday welcomed the easing of restrictions on travellers, saying while it’s an encouraging move, they hope to see all medical surveillance scrapped ultimately.

Exco member Jeffrey Lam, who's also a lawmaker from the Business and Professionals Alliance, noted that although the three-day medical surveillance period upon arrival might cause a little inconvenience, it is understandable and acceptable for business travellers.

"It's great news. This is an important step for Hong Kong to get back to normal, get back to business and reconnect with the world... I'm sure there will be more business people coming to Hong Kong in the coming weeks," he said.

"What we need to do now is to get the airlines to increase the frequency of flights coming to Hong Kong. Hong Kong government also has to do their part to make sure everything is as efficient as before at the airport."

Hong Kong University microbiologist Dr Siddharth Sridhar also called the relaxation in Covid rules a step in the right direction.

He noted that with the high infection level and vaccination rate, the local community has developed a strong barrier against severe cases.

"The government may feel that they still need to be cautious and to observe how the system really reacts to the relaxation but we should not wait too long before we consider rejoining the rest of the world in completely free travel," he said.

"Any kind of medical monitoring you need to undergo after flying in to Hong Kong still makes Hong Kong an unattractive travel destination."

Meanwhile, Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien said he is “pleasantly surprised” with John Lee’s decision to relax some of the travel curbs.

“I don’t think everybody in government supports that, but he is willing to take up that responsibility to go that way,” he said.

While the easing of measures is expected to have a positive effect on outbound tourism for Hong Kong residents, Tien said international tourists and the business sector may not stand to benefit much.

“All the short-duration tourists... people who come to Hong Kong and visit for three, four days, by the time they allow to eat outside, they have to leave. We have to kiss these tourists goodbye,” he said.

“For businesses investing in Hong Kong, three days of not being able to eat and dine with the business partner, where most business decisions are made... will still render us behind totally free cities like Singapore.”