Hong Kong Announces Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions Next Month Amid High Caseloads

The Chief Executive of Hong Kong and Chairperson of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security Carrie Lam said Hong Kong scrapped some travel curbs amid its worst-ever COVID-19 outbreak.

Lam said Monday that a ban on flights from nine countries, including the US and UK, would be lifted from April 1, and the mandatory hotel quarantine time for those who tested negative would be cut in half.

Lam also laid out a plan to ease Hong Kong’s social-distancing rules in phases, starting from April 21 as long as there is no rebound in infections, Lam noted. 

Lam acknowledged that residents’ tolerance for COVID-19 restrictions was fading, and financial institutions were losing patience with the city’s isolationist approach. 

“There is a need for our society to function continuously and for the economy to move forward progressively,” Lam said. “This is entirely to pave the way for the relaunch of our economy.”

While Hong Kong is still targeting Covid Zero, Lam said that the plans resembled the shift in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore as they prepared to reopen their economies and live alongside the virus. 

Lam also said plans to test the entire city for COVID-19 would be put on hold, citing logistical challenges and the stress it would cause in the densely populated city.

“In Hong Kong, freedom is much emphasized and our society is rather egocentric — it’s hard to achieve total compliance,” Lam added.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong reported 246 deaths and 14,149 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday.


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