Government pandemic adviser Ivan Hung on Wednesday backed calls for an independent probe into the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it would be more comprehensive than an internal review within the administration.
On an RTHK programme, Hung said such an inquiry should aim at looking for room for improvement, rather than holding anyone accountable for mistakes.
“It can include mainland, overseas and local experts... and could target some problems specifically, while having a comprehensive overview. Compared to internal reviews done by each government department, its outcome would be more credible,” he said.
Hung said an inquiry could have a wide scope and review Covid testing, contact tracing, and manpower deployment at hospitals, as well as how outbreaks happened at elderly care homes.
Legislator Yan Chan said during the same programme that there is no need for an independent probe that could take months to complete, saying experts should voice their views now so the government can make changes swiftly.
Hung disagreed with the lawmaker.
“Although we’ve been in close contact with the government and we’ve been in talks and giving our views on some decisions, it was an on-going process and we did not look back at the past three years to see what could have been done better,” he said.
He also said the outcome of an inquiry ought to be made public so people could give their feedback.
Meanwhile, Third Side lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen urged Chief Executive John Lee to reconsider his opposition to an independent inquiry.
Speaking to RTHK's Hong Kong Today, Tik said he was disappointed with Lee's comments on the matter and taking stock of the experience, the good and the bad, would only help the city improve its future performance.
“We gain the experience from the past and our mistakes. It can make some improvements. It makes our government to be cleverer about the situation and handle future problems better,” he said.