China relaxing certain anti-pandemic measures doesn’t necessarily mean reopening borders with Hong Kong very soon, said Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mao, as he defended the vaccine pass requirement, which can encourage citizens to get inoculated against Covid.
Speaking in a Legislative Council health services panel meeting Friday, Lo pointed to the differences between the SAR and mainland in population, healthcare system, vaccination coverage, and economy, leading to two sets of Covid
The health chief said Hong Kong will continue to push forward the reverse quarantine arrangement and fight for more quota in the number of quarantine hotel rooms, adding he believes this can better convenience cross-border travel.
When questioned by lawmakers if the SAR will cancel the LeaveHomeSafe app mandate and vaccine
pass arrangement like Beijing relaxing the green health code from most venues, Lo only said authorities will continue to review the two policies.
He noted the vaccine
pass requirement plays a key role in encouraging Hongkongers to receive the Covid
Meanwhile, lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun recalled Lo saying “Covid
-19 was most definitely not just the flu” back in September and referred to state media recently citing experts that the Omicron subvariant can be treated as the flu, before asking if the health chief has any new thoughts.
Lo then said Covid
and flu are indeed two different viruses and clarified that people are saying their death rates are similar. He insisted that the transmission risk of Covid
is much higher than that of the flu.