Authorities should only consider ending the outdoor masking requirement a couple of weeks after the Lunar New Year holidays, while indoor masking must stay for now, said respiratory medicine specialist Leung Chi-chiu.
Speaking on a radio program on Wednesday, Leung said there's still a risk of transmission outdoors despite the Covid
tally in Hong Kong being on a downward trend.
He noted that many people gathered during the Lunar New Year activities and there were fewer people getting tested during the holiday season, which the daily infection count is set to slightly rebound after the holidays.
He said authorities must continue their effort in administering booster doses for elderlies at residential care homes and contain any possible outbreak.
“Any relaxation should be done in a gradual and orderly manner,” stressed Leung, adding that officials need to think carefully before allowing people to go without masks indoors.
He also said transmission is much more likely in indoor settings, and any change in those rules should wait until after winter when the peak in hospital admissions has passed.
Meanwhile, the health expert raised concerns about the daily rapid test requirement for students attending in-person classes, which he found the requirement a bit costly for schools and students.
However, he said the vaccination rate of youths in the city has not been ideal, and any easing regarding the testing requirement should be conducted gradually - starting from secondary school students to primary students and eventually to kindergarteners.