May 29, 2022
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China says Hong Kong’s priority is to cut COVID infections, deaths

Hong Kong to loosen strict COVID measures in April

HONG KONG — Hong Kong plans to chill out some anti-COVID-19 (coronavirus illness 2019) measures subsequent month, lifting a ban on flights from 9 nations, lowering quarantine time for arrivals from overseas and reopening faculties.

The strikes, introduced on Monday by Chief Government Carrie Lam, might dampen some criticism from residents who’ve change into more and more annoyed with town’s stringent measures, a few of which have been in place for over two years.

The flight ban can be lifted from April 1, whereas lodge quarantine for arrivals might be reduce to seven days from 14 if residents examined adverse, Lam informed a information briefing. She had beforehand mentioned measures can be in place till April 20.

Colleges would resume face to face lessons from April 19, after the Easter holidays whereas public venues together with sports activities services would additionally reopen from April 21, she mentioned. Hong Kong’s border has successfully been shut since 2020 with only a few flights in a position to land and hardly any passengers allowed to transit, successfully isolating a metropolis that had constructed a fame as a world monetary hub.

The ban had made it very tough for residents to return to the Chinese language dominated territory, with many spending time often known as “washing out” in different nations for 2 weeks earlier than being allowed to return.

The foundations, along with fixed blended messaging from the federal government together with whether or not a citywide lockdown and mass testing would happen, have triggered an exodus of residents in the previous two months.

Internet outflows present greater than 54,000 individuals have left Hong Kong up to now in March, in opposition to greater than 71,000 in February and practically 17,000 in December earlier than the fifth wave of the pandemic hit, prompting fears for town’s longer-term competitiveness.

Companies and town’s financial system are reeling from widespread closures, whereas medical doctors say most of the metropolis’s 7.4 million residents are grappling with rising psychological well being points, notably amongst low-income households.

A plan to perform mass coronavirus testing can be placed on maintain, Ms. Lam mentioned, citing consultants who mentioned it was not an appropriate time.

Whereas the previous British colony has formally caught to the “dynamic zero” coronavirus coverage, comparable to mainland China, which seeks to curb all outbreaks, it has been shifting to mitigation methods as deaths skyrocketed.

Hong Kong has registered essentially the most deaths per million individuals globally in current weeks — greater than 24 occasions that of rival Singapore — due to a big proportion of aged who had been unvaccinated because the extremely transmissible Omicron variant ripped via care houses since February.

The densely packed metropolis has recorded greater than 1 million infections for the reason that pandemic began and about 5,000 deaths — most of them in the previous month.

As many as 4 million individuals might be contaminated in accordance to estimates from well being consultants as many residents have contracted the virus and remoted at house with out notifying authorities. — Reuters

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