18th September 2022 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 epidemic has been affecting Hong Kong for nearly three years, and the government has adopted endless epidemic prevention restrictions, which has led to economic stagnation, brain drain, and international events and competitions have also been cancelled in Hong Kong including the 2023 World Dragon Boat Racing Championship recently.
Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, a member of the Executive Council and Legislative Council, said on a radio program today (18th) that he was disappointed by the cancellation of the Hong Kong Marathon and the move of the 2023 World Dragon Boat Racing Championship to Thailand. He urged the government to relax the quarantine scheme to 0+7 or 0+3 as soon as possible. It will be too late to relax if the government waits till the end of the year or beginning of next year. He is afraid that there will be more cancellation of major international events. Lam pointed out that it is not easy to do nucleic acid testing in other places nowadays, and the Hong Kong government should cancel the requirement for nucleic acid testing before boarding the plane. Entry and quarantine restrictions have created obstacles since the epidemic. More than 100,000 professionals have chosen to leave Hong Kong so far. Among them, the brain drain in the accounting sector is alarming. The government needs to think about how to attract talents to take root in Hong Kong. He believes that Hong Kong still has advantages, and some expatriates have chosen to return because the quality of life in the local area is different from that of Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, according to latest sources, Hong Kong government will cancel the “3+4” entry quarantine arrangement in the short term and change it to “0+7”, and the new measure will be announced within this week. In addition, the existing social distancing measures, which have been extended several times, are expected to be partially “relaxed”. Hong Kong will adjust the mandatory hotel quarantine measures on entry in the short term, that is, from the current “3+4” entry quarantine arrangement to “0+7”, but the implementation timetable is still undecided.
Another source pointed out that the Hong Kong government originally discussed relaxing entry quarantine measures before November, but other cities in the Asia-Pacific region moved quickly to compete to host international events, and with recent opinions from various parties, it is estimated that the authorities want to solve the current “3+4” arrangement first. However, as the measure involve the operation of the aviation and hotel industries, it is still open to question whether it can be implemented in time for the long Mainland holiday on 1st October. In addition, Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau also said yesterday that the government is reviewing different data in order to change the “3+4” arrangement to “0+7”. He believes that the data in the short term can support the reduction of hotel quarantine days, and will actively consider improving the current hotel quarantine scheme. He said that there is no detailed implementation timetable for the time being to avoid confusion on government’s anti-epidemic policies.