HK can't scrap all travel restrictions right now: Lo - RTHK
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HK can't scrap all travel restrictions right now: Lo

2022-09-25 HKT 13:29
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  • Lo Chung-mau says Hong Kong needs to stay vigilant against Covid as new variants emerge. File photo: RTHK
    Lo Chung-mau says Hong Kong needs to stay vigilant against Covid as new variants emerge. File photo: RTHK
Health minister Lo Chung-mau said on Sunday that it's currently not appropriate to scrap inbound travel restrictions, because Hong Kong needs to stay vigilant against new Covid variants emerging overseas.

In the latest round of border relaxation measures, the government said that from Monday, travellers will not be required to undergo quarantine at hotels, but will be restricted from going to places like restaurants for three days.

Speaking on a TVB programme, Lo stressed that infection rates for people coming into Hong Kong is at around three percent, compared to one percent locally.

He described the government as "a chief architect" in the road against Covid and that it has to look for a stable and sound route so that it will not be, as he put it, a road to fatality.

Back in February before he joined the government, Lo once said that living with the virus the way overseas countries do, would be a way to "go to hell together".

Asked whether the government's relaxation of travel rules goes against his previous remark, the minister said things have changed since then.

"Since I said that, more than nine thousand people have died. This has been much worse than any other epidemic. Since February, many things have changed. Our vaccination rate is far higher – our ability to deal with Covid and our hospital system are far stronger," he said.

"More importantly, indeed many of our elderly people have died. I don't want to keep arguing about this."

Lo stressed that Hong Kong is not "lying flat" in its battle against Covid, saying the inability to completely wipe out the coronavirus does not mean that people can do away with all anti-Covid measures.

He added officials are reviewing whether there can be any relaxation to local social-distancing measures, noting that they are different to those for inbound travel because all travellers can be subject to Covid tests.