Executive Council convenor Regina Ip on Sunday said she expected the scrapping of mandatory isolation for people with Covid-19 to significantly boost inbound tourism.
From Monday, the government will no longer issue isolation orders to confirmed patients and members of the public won't be required to report their coronavirus infections.
Speaking on a radio programme, Ip said some overseas tourists had been hesitant about visiting Hong Kong because of the isolation policy.
She said she thought medical experts advising the government would know when to drop the mandatory PCR testing requirement for cross-border travellers, once Covid cases on the mainland had stabilised.
“Lifting the quarantine requirement will be a big boost for inbound tourism from overseas. As for inbound visits from the mainland, that will increase step by step as more control points are open as and when the government simplifies or removes the PCR test requirements,” she said.
Meanwhile, in response to Professor Yuen Kwok-yung's call for an independent inquiry into the government’s response to Covid-19, Ip said the current pandemic is incomparable with the Sars outbreak in 2003.
"The government has ongoing reviews to optimise its anti-Covid measures, so I really doubt the need for an independent inquiry based on the Sars experience. Because Covid is very different from Sars. It is still ongoing," she said.
An investigation was conducted after the 2003 Sars outbreak and that resulted in the establishment of the Centre for Health Protection.