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‘Covid zero’ city removes most pandemic restrictions – RT World News


Hong Kong’s relaxation of rules comes after mainland China eased its hardline coronavirus policies

Hong Kong will drop most of its strict Covid-19 restrictions this week, including a vaccine pass requirement and outdoor social distancing rules, city manager John Lee said on Wednesday. Along with mainland China, Hong Kong was one of the last jurisdictions in the world to pursue a “zero Covid” policy.

From Thursday, Hong Kong residents will no longer have to show proof of vaccination to enter bars, restaurants and other public places. Close contacts of Covid-19 patients will no longer have to self-isolate, and a citywide policy limiting outdoor gatherings to 12 people will be scrapped, Lee told reporters at a conference. Press.

Incoming travelers will be required to submit rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests, and Lee said travel between the former British colony and mainland China would resume “before mid-January.

Mandatory masking, however, will remain in effect across the city.

Lee said a combination of widespread natural immunity and near-total vaccination of the city’s more than seven million residents informed his decision.

“The city has achieved a relatively high vaccination rate which builds an anti-epidemic barrier,” he told reporters. “In addition, we have sufficient and effective medicine, and the community has a good three-year experience to protect themselves.”

Some 6.7 million Hong Kong residents – 93% of the city’s population – have received at least two doses of the vaccine, according to official statistics. However, Hong Kong is currently averaging nearly 20,000 Covid-19 cases a day, the highest spike in new cases since the start of the pandemic, except for two weeks of up to 65,000 cases in March.

Lee’s decision came days after China downgraded its coronavirus response from “Level ‘A’ control measures” at least strict “B-Level” answer. From January 8, Covid-19 patients will no longer be required to self-isolate, new arrivals to China will no longer be required to self-quarantine, and local authorities will no longer be able to lock down entire communities in the event of an emergency. localized epidemic.

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