Local expert says Mainland may review border reopening only 6 months later, LeaveHomeSafe app and Vaccine Pass are still required for now due to rebound in COVID-19 cases

Leung Chi-chiu

7th December 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council today (7th) issued the “Notice on Further Optimising the Implementation of the Prevention and Control Measures for the Coronavirus Epidemic”, proposing ten loosening and prevention measures.

Leung Chi-chiu, a specialist in respiratory system in Hong Kong, pointed out that the relaxation of epidemic prevention measures may have an impact on the epidemic situation in the Mainland in the short term. Referring to foreign examples, the peak period will last for 3 to 6 months. It is estimated that the Mainland will not open its border to other countries in the short term, at least not until the epidemic slows down. As for whether Hong Kong should emulate Mainland where health codes (similar to LeaveHomeSafe app and Vaccine Pass in Hong Kong) in restaurants are no longer required. Leung explained that the epidemic in Hong Kong is in a rebound period. It will be reviewed after the wave of epidemic eases.

Leung pointed out that the Mainland has been closed for a long time, and herd immunity may not be sufficient. After the epidemic prevention measures are relaxed, it may cause an impact and result in widespread community transmission. Similar to the situation in Europe and Hong Kong, it is possible for Mainland to experience the peak of the epidemic in 3 to 6 months.

Therefore, it is believed that the relaxation measures in the Mainland do not have any implications on Hong Kong’s border reopening. Arrangements will only be made after the epidemic situation in the Mainland slows down. At that time, border reopening between Hong Kong and the Mainland will be a matter of course. The Mainland announced at the same time that, except for special places such as nursing homes, welfare homes, medical institutions, childcare institutions, and primary and secondary schools, no nucleic acid test negative certificates are required, and health codes will not be inspected. Leung said that Hong Kong’s herd immunity is stronger than that of the Mainland, “I can’t see the need to scan LeaveHomeSafe app in Hong Kong”, and restaurants have never been used to track the cases.