August 18, 2022
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is “actively discussing” the possibility of quarantine-free travel with the Chinese mainland, Chief Secretary of Administration Chan Kwok-ki said on Wednesday.
Chan made the statement during a media briefing after attending the Ante Chamber’s briefing with members of the Legislative Council on Wednesday morning.
Chief Administration Secretary Chan Kwok-ki said the Hong Kong SAR government was working hard with the mainland to resolve the issue of quarantine quotas, adding that chartering flights to take students on the mainland was an option under consideration.
“We have been actively discussing with the mainland authorities how, I would say, to resume quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland, and I believe we will make an announcement at the appropriate occasions,” he said.
During the exchange session, lawmakers Kitson Yang Wing-kit and Scott Leung Man-kwong expressed their concerns about Hong Kong students who cannot travel to the mainland in time to start their university classes due to a lack of quarantine quotas.
They pointed out that many high school students in Hong Kong who have enrolled in mainland universities worry that they will not be able to arrive at their universities in time for registration, due to the limited number of cross-border lottery-based quotas.
A student from Hong Kong who had registered to begin studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ultimately decided to decline the offer, due to repeated failure to secure a place in the quota system.
Responding to the question, Chan said the Hong Kong SAR government was working hard with the mainland to resolve the quota issue, adding that chartering flights to take students to the mainland was an option being explored. .
However, as any flight charter project can be complex and time-consuming, Yeung suggested that authorities could consider offering additional border crossing quotas to this group of students, to help them arrive on time. in their universities.
Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration Cheuk Wing-hing said at the same media briefing that the government would also carry out a comprehensive review of the city’s hygiene and sanitation laws.
“We will examine whether the existing legislations are adequate in terms of empowering ministries to perform their duties properly, as well as the adequacy of the sanction,” Cheuk said. “Thus, we will take a holistic view and if necessary, we will propose changes to existing legislation, or even explore the prospect of enacting new legislation.”
5,757 new cases registered
Hong Kong recorded 5,757 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 194 imported infections and 5,563 local cases, said Albert Au Ka-wing, senior medical officer and health officer of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch. , in a separate press briefing.
Hong Kong recorded 5,757 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 194 imported infections, said Albert Au Ka-wing, senior medical officer and health officer of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch.
He added that four new deaths had been reported, bringing the city’s toll from the fifth wave to 9,371.
“Starting in July, we saw an upward trend… In July, we were looking at 3,000 to 3,500 cases. At the end of July or beginning of August, we were talking about 4,500. Today it has increased to 5,500,” Au said.
Of the 194 imported cases, 89 were confirmed at the airport, 54 at quarantine hotels and 51 at community testing centers. More than 10 cases each came from Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, India and the Philippines. The others came from 38 other countries.
Four residential care homes reported infections while 48 schools reported 74 cases. Three kindergartens and one primary school suspended some classes due to infections.
Au said 24.5% of new cases involved the Omicron BA.5 subvariant while 7.4% were related to BA.2.12.1.
Lau Ka-hin, chief director (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that 1,875 COVID patients were being treated in public hospitals on Wednesday, including 273 new patients. Thirty-two were in critical condition, including 10 in intensive care, and 33 in serious condition.
Lau expressed concern about the growing number of elderly patients, noting that 80% of admitted COVID patients were aged 60 and over.
“The percentage is high. We call on all older people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and complete the diet,” he said.
More older patients
Au said 15,443 people aged 60 and over were infected with COVID-19 from August 1 to 14, which is higher than the 12,898 cases of elderly people reported from July 18 to 31.
Lau said the four patients who died included two men and two women between the ages of 52 and 96. Three of them had cancer and three had also not completed their vaccination regimen.
He urged cancer patients and other critically ill patients to get vaccinated to boost their immunity against the virus.
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