Hong Kong to ease strict COVID measures and lift ban on flights from April – SABC News

Hong Kong wants to ease things up Anti-COVID-19 Measures next month lifting a flight ban from nine countries, reducing the quarantine period for arrivals from abroad and reopening schools.

The moves, announced Monday by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, may calm some criticism from residents who are growing increasingly frustrated the city’s strict measuressome of which have existed for over two years.

The ban on flights would be lifted from April 1, while hotel quarantine for arrivals could be reduced from 14 to seven days if residents tested negative, Lam said in a news conference. She had previously said measures would be in place until April 20.

Schools would resume face-to-face classes from April 19 after the Easter holidays, while public venues, including sports facilities, would also reopen from April 21, she said.

The border with Hong Kong has been virtually closed since 2020, with very few flights able to land and hardly any passengers allowed through, effectively isolating a city that has built a reputation as a global financial hub.

The ban had made it very difficult for residents to return to the Chinese-ruled area, with many spending two weeks in other countries before being allowed to return.

The rules, along with constantly mixed news from the government, including whether a citywide lockdown and mass testing would take place, have sparked an exodus of residents over the past two months.

Net outflows show that more than 54,000 people have left Hong Kong so far in March, up from more than 71,000 in February and almost 17,000 in December ahead of the fifth wave of the pandemic, raising concerns about the city’s longer-term competitiveness.

Businesses and the city’s economy are suffering from widespread shutdowns, while doctors say many of the city’s 7.4 million residents are grappling with increasing mental health problems, particularly among low-income families.

A plan to conduct mass coronavirus testing would be put on hold, Lam said, citing experts who said it was not an opportune time.

While the former British colony has officially stuck to the “dynamic zero” coronavirus policy, much like mainland China is trying to contain all outbreaks, it has shifted to mitigation strategies amid the skyrocketing number of deaths.

Hong Kong has recorded the highest deaths per million people in the world in recent weeks – more than 24 times that of rival Singapore – due to a large proportion of elderly people unvaccinated as the highly transmissible omicron variant has been ripped through care homes since February .

The densely populated city has recorded more than 1 million infections and about 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began – most of them in the past month.

Health experts estimate that as many as 4 million people could be infected as many residents contracted the virus and isolated at home without notifying authorities.

Hong Kong to ease strict COVID measures and lift ban on flights from April – SABC News

Source link Hong Kong to ease strict COVID measures and lift ban on flights from April – SABC News

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