Mainland expert visit to Hong Kong “huge step” towards quarantine-free journey

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The mainland epidemic prevention and control expert delegation is visiting Tin Shui Wai Hospital on November 22, 2021 to understand the triage and consultation arrangements in the accident and emergency department. [PHOTO/HKSAR GOVERNMENT]

The visit of a delegation of health experts from mainland China to Hong Kong will help pave the way for quarantine-free travel between the special administrative region and the mainland, medical experts said on Monday.

On Saturday, a delegation organized by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the National Health Commission arrived in Hong Kong for a four-day visit to verify local anti-pandemic measures.

They met with local officials and experts and inspected key facilities related to pandemic work, including ports, health facilities, quarantine centers and contact tracing offices.

Their visit came after Hong Kong media reported that the border would be reopened with a limited quota next month, and Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she hoped to see the Large-scale trips resume in February.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Communicable Disease Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the visit was a big step towards resuming cross-border travel without quarantine, which he said is the common expectation of the public.

The visit is expected to deepen mutual understanding of the pandemic prevention policies of Hong Kong and the mainland and bring more comprehensive exchanges on anti-pandemic measures, especially those aimed at reducing the risk of importing COVID-19 cases via the airport, Leung said.

Noting the serious threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the recent confirmed cases among airline cargo crews, Leung said the delegation’s visit to Hong Kong International Airport was of great importance, as border control measures at the transport hub were a key factor. affecting the resumption of cross-border travel.

Surgeon Kelvin Wong Kiu-fung, who facilitated the city’s universal community testing program in September last year, said the delegation’s visit helped speed up the negotiation process and find a practical plan. for the resumption of trips without quarantine.

“The in-depth communication and experience sharing among experts will help to ensure stable control of the epidemic situation in Hong Kong and the mainland once the recovery is achieved,” Wong added.

Wong said Hong Kong can also learn more about the mainland’s health code system to improve its self-developed LeaveHomeSafe mobile app for tracking confirmed cases.

Radiologist Kevin Lau Chung-hang, who is also the medical director of a company providing health services, said he believes experts on the continent will provide practical advice to advance mutual recognition of health code systems. and dealing with a possible resurgence of a pandemic after travel resumes.

To continue the gradual resumption of non-quarantine travel, experts and officials from Hong Kong and the mainland held video conferences in September and this month.

The mainland delegation’s visit is an important follow-up to the two videoconferences, Hong Kong Chief Secretary of Administration John Lee Ka-chiu said in a meeting with experts on Saturday.

The SAR government will continue to guard against the importation of cases and the resurgence of local infections to foster conditions conducive to cross-border travel without quarantine, Lee said.

Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said on Sunday that he will be able to attend his meeting in Beijing next month, which he said was a positive sign for the resumption of quarantine cross-border travel. Due to pandemic concerns and strict cross-border travel controls, he was unable to attend the meeting in October.

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