No plans to ease flight ban: CE

March 26, 2022

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


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said the Government has no plans to substantially relax the flight-specific suspension mechanism as there is still a need to maintain the measure in order to prevent the importation of COVID-19 cases.


At a press conference this morning, Mrs Lam explained the rationale behind the continued implementation of the mechanism despite the flight ban on nine countries being lifted from next month.


She said: “We could allow airlines to resume inbound flights from these nine countries by lifting the place-specific flight suspension mechanism. But at the same time, from the very beginning of fighting the epidemic, in order to prevent and reduce the importation of cases, there was always this other measure called the route-specific, flight-specific suspension mechanism.


“I think we did have a case where one inbound flight brought in over 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases, so there is always this need to maintain this route-specific and flight-specific suspension measure.


“We have no plans to substantially reduce or relax the rule because this rule is needed in order to meet the fundamental objective of preventing the importation of cases, especially when a lot of countries and places have significantly relaxed many of the epidemic measures, including the wearing of masks, social distancing, vaccine pass and so on. So Hong Kong has to remain vigilant.


“So as far as this thing is concerned, the only thing is we are revisiting the various trigger thresholds to see whether there are operational details that we could rationalise, but certainly not as described in the local media this morning as a major concession.”


Considering that a number of Hong Kong residents may return to the city after the place-specific flight ban is cancelled, the Chief Executive noted that the Government is liaising with the hotel trade to try to secure more quarantine rooms.


“I will ask my colleagues to approach the hotels to see whether more of them could become a designated quarantine hotel.


“And on this front we are making some good progress and I believe the Food & Health Bureau will shortly announce that we are able to provide more designated quarantine hotels for those who could get on a flight and come back.”

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