The duration of the mandatory quarantine period is under consideration, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in expressing his wish to minimize the inconvenience faced by travelers.
Lee's announcement came after new health minister Lo Chung-mau said last month that authorities will try to shorten the hotel quarantine period to as few as five days for overseas arrivals coupled with two days of home quarantine. Under this "closed-loop" scheme, Lo said, travelers would only be permitted to visit places scheduled on their itinerary.
Speaking before his first Executive Council meeting yesterday, Lee said he is conscious of the need for Hong Kong to remain open and convenient for travelers, but it is also important to strike a balance.
"I have already asked the secretary for food and health to look at the evidence and statistics to see how we can both contain the spread of Covid
-19 and minimize inconvenience for travelers," Lee said.
He stressed the importance of keeping the local outbreak under control in order to avoid increasing pressure on public hospitals.
"It is important we find a good method based on science and evidence to [let] people go about their normal activities once we know they are not infected."
Lee described himself as a pragmatic leader who doesn't merely "chant slogans."
He also vowed to solve Hong Kong's housing shortage through the formation of two groups - one for matters of public housing and the other to establish sites for development.
Regarding article 23 of the Basic Law, Lee said he will enact the law it mandates as soon as possible but added that time is needed for a comprehensive legislation.
He said: "The government has a constitutional responsibility to enact an article 23 law However, we must make sure our legislation can address all potential issues and the greatest threats to national security."
With Lee were the 16 nonofficial Exco members, including Legislative Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah, former food and health secretary Ko Wing-man and convener Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
"All 16 nonofficial members have extensive experience in law, health care and finance. Each has a responsibility to offer their best ideas and opinions to the chief executive," Lee said.
In an earlier interview with CCTV, Lee expressed confidence in his role and discussed the importance of stability in Hong Kong's development, adding: "All governments have supporters as well as skeptics. But regardless of whether I have the public's support now, I will win their trust through my actions."