A government adviser on the pandemic says he expects Hong Kong to gradually drop its remaining anti-Covid measures, with rules such as compulsory masking and daily tests for school pupils potentially gone in weeks.
Ivan Hung made the comments on Monday as the latest relaxation in Covid rules took effect, with people confirmed to have the virus no longer having to report their infection to the authorities or isolate themselves, as the SAR starts treating Covid like other respiratory illnesses.
Speaking on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, the Univeristy of Hong Kong respiratory medicine specialist said he felt the latest shift in policy was unlikely to lead to a mass outbreak.
"Basically we are now treating Covid as one of the upper respiratory tract infections, just like infuenza or other infections, and we are now transition from a pandemic to an endemic phase," he told RTHK's Janice Wong. "The mask mandate will also be scrapped, possibly in a few weeks' time, and we're basically moving back to a normal state.
"Of course, we understand that with this relaxation there are increased risks of infection among the elderly, those with chronic illnesses or the very young children, but most people will have been fully vaccinated and within the community there's very robust, what we call, hybrid immunity, meaning those who've already been vaccinated and also had a past infection.
"So overall the transmission among the community will be very low."
Health officials on Sunday reported 3,283 new Covid cases, of which 111 were imported, continuing a trend of relatively low daily caseloads.
From Monday, officials will no longer issue a daily press release with the number of infections, while the Hospital Authority will no longer report the number of cases in public hospitals.
Health minister Lo Chung-mau said last week that there's a chance that the remaining anti-Covid measures could be relaxed after last week's Lunar New Year holiday.