Further measures to fight virus

January 28, 2020

(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced enhanced measures to stop the novel coronavirus’ spread and said it is not meaningful to talk about the closure of all boundary control points.


Speaking at a press conference, Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong people made up 75% of the passenger flow through the city’s control points up to January 27.


“There are a large number of Hong Kong residents who are now travelling in the Mainland and overseas and they need to come back. So, I don’t think it is very meaningful to talk about a complete closure of the boundary control points.”


She pointed out that the strategy the Government has laid out tries to drastically limit population mobility between Hong Kong and the Mainland through various measures.


"With the full support of the Central Government, they have agreed in principle to cease issuing the Individual Visit Scheme permits. So that will take away 50% of the usual mainland visitors coming to Hong Kong, together with the 20-plus percentage points attributed to group tours from the Mainland.


"Another measure is really to reduce or to consolidate the number of boundary control points. In one go, we are ceasing the service for passengers in six control points. That’s quite a drastic measure.


"So that again will hopefully reduce passenger flow and achieve the outcome of drastically limiting the people or the population mobility between the two places."


The above measures will take effect from January 30. 


The Chief Executive added that the Government has also imposed the stringent measure of not allowing Hubei residents and people who visited the province in the past 14 days, except Hong Kong residents, to enter the city.


"I don’t think many parts of the world have adopted that very stringent measure."


On Hospital Authority's current policy which waives the charges for non-Hong Kong residents to avoid patients with infectious disease evade tests due to cost concern, Mrs Lam said the policy will be adjusted as Hong Kong has entered a key stage in its efforts in preventing the disease.


The authority will, with immediate effect, charge all ineligible people the relevant fees so that the fee waiver will not become an incentive for people infected by novel coronavirus to seek treatment in Hong Kong.


She also announced that the Government will not consider Fai Ming Estate or other unoccupied public housing estates for quarantine purpose. If there are not enough quarantine facilities and there is a wide spread of the disease in the community, the Government may need to impose home isolation for the relevant people, she added.


Turning to the supply of surgical masks, the Chief Executive said the Government is conducting worldwide procurement to ensure adequate supplies for tackling the disease. 


Click here for details of the seven enhanced measures.

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