- Özgür Töre
After mainland China relaxed COVID-19 response measures, Hong Kong on Wednesday followed the suit and said the city residents are no longer required to present proof of vaccination when entering public venues.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu told a news conference that the new steps were taken on the basis of the “wide vaccination” of city residents.
Lee said Hong Kong already had a “relatively wide and comprehensive anti-epidemic barrier.”
The new measures are effective from Thursday.
“About 2.5 million people have been infected and (when the vaccination rate reaches) 94%, the pandemic risks are controllable,” he said. “We will not return to the old road (of tightening pandemic control),” the daily South China Morning Post quoted Lee as saying.
Under the new measures, the administration in the semi-autonomous region has ended venue capacity limits, public group gathering limits, and the requirement of negative tests for arrivals.
“People will no longer have to undergo isolation at home if they are found to be close contacts of COVID-19 patients. But they are still required to undergo tests by themselves for at least five days,” said Lee.
However, the city administration asked people to wear masks outdoors.
Hong Kong is also readying to resume quarantine-free travel with mainland China in mid-January, but the unvaccinated international arrivals will not be allowed entry into Hong Kong.
Wearing masks outdoors, isolation for COVID-19 patients, daily rapid testing for students and teachers, and a ban on eating on ferries will still continue.
Hong Kong has reported 2.5 million COVID-19 cases, including 11,562 deaths, so far.