Health

China’s top medical adviser urges easing of COVID-19 measures in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, May 26 (efe-epa).- The head of China’s designated medical team of experts to combat coronavirus praised prevention measures taken in Hong Kong and urged authorities to relax restrictions as Beijing said more businesses would begin operating.

In an interview with Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan praised the city’s efforts to contain COVID-19 and called for more cooperation between the authorities of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese to allow travel between the two sides without the need to undergo mandatory quarantine.

“Hong Kong has done beautifully this time, totally different from how it did 17 years ago during Sars,” said the renowned 83-year-old Chinese pneumologist, who played a prominent role in the fight in 2003 against the disease, by which the former British colony was particularly affected.

Zhong said the authorities should “take this step” and establish a health code system that is recognized on both sides.

“I don’t think it’s that essential to be isolated in Hong Kong for 14 days. That’s because Hong Kong is facing a big economic problem,” he added.

Hong Kong has not recorded any new coronavirus cases for more than ten days and there are 32 active cases in the city out of the 1,065 total infections detected since the beginning of the epidemic, with four deaths.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the city will ease some of the social distancing measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Karaoke lounges and nightclubs will join other public places that have opened – including gyms and beauty salons – and will be able to resume operations from Friday, according to China’s state-run agency Xinhua.

Flight transfer services at the Hong Kong International Airport will also resume while the city’s schools will gradually open from Wednesday.

Lam also reiterated her support for the Hong Kong national security law that the government in Beijing plans to pass this week and assured that the freedoms of Hong Kong citizens are not in danger.

Hong Kong’s police arrested at least 180 people on Sunday during a protest against the proposed legislation, which would prohibit any act of “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” against the central government, in addition to theft of state secrets and the organization of activities in Hong Kong by foreign political groups.

It is currently being debated in the Chinese National People’s Congress and is due to be approved before its conclusion on Thursday.

Several civil organizations have condemned the measure being planned by Beijing saying it would limit the freedoms of Hong Kongers. EFE-EPA

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