Some anti-epidemic measures eased

May 5, 2020

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said because Hong Kong has not reported a local COVID-19 case for over two weeks and imported cases are low, some anti-epidemic measures can be lifted.


During a press conference, Mrs Lam outlined that unlike some European countries, Hong Kong did not need to go into lockdown to contain the spread of the disease.


“Hong Kong has never gone into a stage of a complete city lockdown. In some of the European countries where they practise a city lockdown, residents are simply not allowed to leave their homes, except for some very essential purposes. But we have never adopted that practice.


“And in fact, many renowned experts are now trying to study our situation - why does Hong Kong succeed in keeping the confirmed cases at a low level without drastic measures like a complete city lockdown. And I do think that is a very interesting topic for further research.”


Mrs Lam noted that the Government had adopted the “suppress and lift” strategy under which restrictions are implemented and lifted in accordance with the infection situation.


“The strategy that Hong Kong has been adopting - and advocated by some of our experts - is what we call a ‘suppress and lift strategy’.


“So in light of the number of confirmed cases and likelihood of the spread of the disease in the community, we will have to suppress in order to make sure that there will be no surge in the number of confirmed cases as we have seen in some neighbouring regions.


“When the situation of the infection stabilises, that is the time for lifting, that is, loosening a bit so that society can operate more normally, especially for the businesses and for individuals’ behaviour.”


The Chief Executive said the Government still needed to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely, even though it was in the stage of lifting restrictions.


“We are now right in the stage of lifting because we have not had a local case for 16 days already and the number of imported cases is very, very low.


“We are now quite confident that the system of testing and holding that we have put in place for all arrivals from overseas would enable us to control the number of imported cases. So this is a time for lifting and this afternoon we have announced a number of lifting measures.


“If the situation continues to stay at the current level - no local cases, very few imported cases - then at the end of the 14-day period, that is May 22, of course that would be the time for more relaxation.”


Mrs Lam added that if a local case suddenly surfaced, Hong Kong may have to go back to some suppression measures, which was why the Government had to monitor the situation closely so it could take the necessary and pertinent response measures.

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