HK has no plans to relax flight suspension rule: Lam

Published : 26 Mar 2022 08:13 PM

Hong Kong's government isn't contemplating any "major concession" on flight suspension policies, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a briefing on Saturday (March 26).

The suspension is a "public health infection control measure" not a "tug of war" between the Hong Kong government and individual airlines, Lam said. Authorities are revisiting various trigger thresholds for halting flights, according to the chief executive.

Earlier, Sing Tao Daily reported that the city may greatly relax the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases that trigger the flight circuit breaker. Currently, three or more infections on the same flight, or one that is confirmed and another that is non-compliant on the same plane, lead to a two-week ban.

City health officials at a separate briefing on Saturday reported 8,841 new Covid cases, dropping below 10,000 for the first time since Feb 24.

Infections have declined from more than 50,000 earlier this month as the city battles a fifth wave that has challenged its Covid Zero stance.

Authorities recorded 114 virus-related deaths in the last 24 hours. Hong Kong is experiencing one of the deadliest outbreaks of the entire pandemic, after being largely Covid-free for two years.

Since January there have been more than 6,500 fatalities, the vast majority being unvaccinated elderly.   

Lam said the government will continue to focus on raising the vaccination rate at care homes for the elderly, where only 56 per cent of residents have had the first jab, adding that she would provide more information on Sunday about the government's plan to boost the inoculation rate.

Lam said the government is “making good progress” in approaching more hotels to turn them into quarantine use. 

There are currently 25 designated quarantine hotels with 6,000 rooms, almost fully booked, she said.