The best time for Hong Kong to lift the mask mandate would be late March to April, said government Covid advisor Yuen Kwok-yung, as he warned of a “painful” post-mask era with possible surging flu infections that disappeared for three years.
Yuen explained that the minimum temperature will be over 20 degree Celsius by that time and the coronavirus
cannot last long under such environment. The human body is less likely to develop inflammations and other symptoms as well, he added.
Speaking on a radio program Thursday, Yuen also said Hong Kong can reinforce its immunity barrier in communities by allowing the spread of Covid
and other upper respiratory diseases in the summer, and prevent the healthcare system from collapsing in the winter because of serious outbreaks.
The government expert continued that Covid
is here to stay and other diseases like flu and adenovirus infection will show up again after disappearing for the past three years. Yuen warned of a “painful” post-mask era as hospitals may be flooded with patients by that time.
Still, Yuen said lifting the mandate sooner is better than doing it later.
He suggested citizens receiving vaccination between October and November every year to strengthen protection. Elderly and chronic disease patients should also put on a face mask in the winter, he noted.
On another note, Yuen called on the SAR government to set up a committee to review its anti-Covid
work over the past three years – like authorities did following the SARS outbreak in 2003 – so that the city can handle another pandemic in the future.
He said the nasal spray Covid vaccine
developed by the University of Hong Kong and mainland has been approved and administered to citizens in four mainland provinces. Yet, it remains unclear if the vaccine
will be registered and made available in Hong Kong.