Hong Kong will see more than 2,000 passengers on over 20 flights arrive in the city today as the flight ban imposed on nine countries, including the US and UK, is lifted.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday said that the SAR is now ready to test new arrivals en masse as she has made sure the city has enough manpower and capacity to do so in a meeting with Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu on Wednesday.
The government has also arranged transport and anti-epidemic bags comprising rapid test kits, masks and other supplies for inbound travelers, Lam added.
She said authorities would exercise caution in all contacts with the returnees, sending them straight to designated quarantine hotels after conducting PCR tests for them.
"We have taken it very seriously to make sure that the whole process of people arriving, taking their 'test-and-hold' PCR test at the airport and then being transported to their designated quarantine hotels is a smooth process," she said.
The nine countries the flight ban will be lifted from are Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Nepal.
According to the Hong Kong International Airport website as of yesterday afternoon, three flights will arrive in Hong Kong from Manila - the first at 7.55am - and one from London.
Lam also said the fifth wave has affected people and businesses in many ways so Covid
curbs won't be tightened any further.
Instead, she hopes to relax the measures gradually as planned.
"If outbreaks continue to subside in a stable manner, we and all businesses hope that the measures can be relaxed in stages from April 21," she said. "We are not going to tighten the measures again easily as they have lasted for three months and have greatly impacted people's daily lives."
Lam said although Hong Kong and China have different health-care policies, people's lives are always the top priority.