Hong Kong health chief says city officials united in Covid-19 fight

Bloomberg News had said that Hong Kong is targeting an end to hotel quarantine in November. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - Hong Kong is united in its fight against Covid-19 and will continue adjusting measures as needed, Health Secretary Lo Chung Mau said on Sunday, dismissing assertions of a debate in the government over when to end hotel quarantine.

Chief Executive John Lee and his team share common goals in dealing with the pandemic, Mr Lo said in a lengthy blog post on the Health Bureau's website.

In an apparent reference to a Bloomberg News report last week, he criticised the "foreign media" for saying government officials aimed to lift hotel quarantine for arrivals in November, but that some in the administration - including himself - were not all in agreement.

"The report led readers to mistakenly believe that the SAR government is divided and contradictory in the fight against the epidemic," Mr Lo said, referring to the city's status as a special administrative region.

Mr Lo reiterated that government policy is based on five principles. They include controlling infection numbers, minimising severe cases and deaths, protecting high-risk groups, differentiating people according to risk levels, and balancing health risks with the need to boost the economy.

Bloomberg News last Thursday cited people familiar with the matter as saying Hong Kong is targeting an end to hotel quarantine in November, ahead of a summit of global bankers and an international rugby competition.

It added that a resurgence in Covid-19 cases prompted some health officials - including Mr Lo - to push back on the plan. The report said that Mr Lee's administration had yet to make a final decision, which would ultimately hinge on the daily case count, the number of fatalities and public perception.

Mr Lo's post on Sunday elaborated on a government statement last week, which said there was "no disagreement" in the administration regarding the approach on hotel quarantine.

Hong Kong's total daily Covid-19 infections rose to 10,683 on Sunday, the highest case count in more than five months.

There were 10,490 local Covid-19 cases and 193 imported infections, health authorities said at a briefing. Eight new virus-related deaths were reported. BLOOMBERG

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