No new COVID-19 cases in HK as restrictions ease

Currently, all travel permit holders arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China and Macau have to be quarantined at home for 14 days.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Hong Kong, May 9 : Hong Kong recorded no new COVID-19 case on Saturday, a day after the city eased restrictions amid the pandemic.

A handful of imported cases over the past week took the city’s tally to 1,044 with four related deaths, reports the South China Morning Post newspaper.

Saturday was also the 20th day in a row with no local infections.

Health experts earlier suggested that Hong Kong could be considered to be free of local transmission if there were no such cases after 28 days, or two incubation cycles for the coronavirus.

On Friday, Hong Kong residents were able to go to gyms, beauty parlours, bars, restaurants, and other public venues which were closed for more than a month after city officials allowed a partial reopening of eight types of businesses, but with conditions.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post on Saturday, executive councillor Lam Ching-choi said it could be time to explore lifting border restrictions between the city and Macau if the local coronavirus threat eased further.

“Both places have experienced a long period of zero local cases, and soon after we lift some social-distancing measures, it’s time to prepare for a certain extent of border reopening – such as a ‘travel bubble’ that some countries are attempting,” he said, referring to a controlled flow of people between places considered to be safe, without the need for quarantine.

Lam said Hong Kong should consider lifting quarantine measures with Macau, not only because of tourism and economic needs, but for the day-to-day lives of people.

A government source told the South China Morning Post on Saturday that Lam’s suggestion was on the agenda, but success centred on mutual agreement between both sides, and Macau would have its own concerns.

There was no timetable at present, the source added.

Currently, all travel permit holders arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China and Macau have to be quarantined at home for 14 days.

Guangdong and Macau in March adopted similar measures requiring that all arrivals be quarantined for the same duration, among other restrictions.

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