HONG KONG — Hong Kong leader John Lee on Tuesday defended the city’s strategy to implement wellness codes that would more correctly restrict the movements of inbound vacationers and these contaminated with COVID-19, dismissing worries that the program could be utilized as a political or social manage device.
Lee, who spoke at a typical information meeting, claimed the wellness code strategy is component of the city’s aim to adopt “precise strategies to minimize the scope of limits.”
“We are a regulation-abiding location, the federal government will of course abide by the regulation,” he mentioned. “Any measures meant for tackling the epidemic will not be applied for other reasons, it is not heading to occur.”
He was speaking a working day immediately after the city’s well being chief unveiled programs to carry out a wellbeing code process in which these infected with COVID-19 would acquire a crimson code, while those people under resort quarantine would get a yellow code. Individuals who acquire these kinds of codes will have their movements restricted.
The wellness code steps are currently being viewed as amid an raise in COVID-19 infections following the town battled its worst outbreak that spiked its cumulative figures to in excess of a million infections and about 9,000 lifeless.
Hong Kong claimed much more than 2,700 cases on Tuesday. The city has on common logged around a thousand infections every day considering that mid-June.
The planned overall health code system has sparked worries more than privacy and social manage immediately after Chinese media reported that mainland Chinese authorities utilised its health code procedure to avoid residents from attending a planned protest at a lender in the province of Henan.
Lee claimed the health code procedure is a way of “early identification” of attainable bacterial infections though impacting the minimum variety of persons.
“We intention to allow most people today to get on with their life with a minimum amount of limitations,” Lee stated, adding that only individuals infected with COVID-19 and inbound travelers will be restricted by the wellbeing codes.
Ben Cowling, an epidemiology professor at the College of Hong Kong, claimed the yellow code for inbound tourists, if made use of with the present program of 7 times of lodge quarantine, would not have much outcome mainly because individuals who go away lodge quarantine have a decreased possibility of an infection than the relaxation of the inhabitants.
Nonetheless, if it’s supposed for use with residence quarantine in its place of resort quarantine, then the end result will be “more transmission,” he said.
Cowling said the city should really count on vaccines and antivirals to decrease extreme condition.
Even with Lee’s reassurances about the well being code process, some Hong Kong residents stay wary about it.
“This is a significant privateness concern, it’s like placing a focus on on the again of persons who receive crimson or yellow codes,” claimed Wong Wing-tsang, a 33-year-old Hong Kong resident. “Here, there is continue to the angle wherever persons address those with COVID-19 as outcasts.”
Lee, who became the city’s leader on July 1, has been vocal about Hong Kong getting an intolerant tactic towards the coronavirus, similar to mainland China’s “zero-COVID” plan. The city continues to be one particular of the few spots, collectively with mainland China, to manage restrictions such as a necessary quarantine interval as much of the world has opened up.
“In the prolonged operate, I believe we have to be real looking about what types of dangers we may possibly be going through,” Lee claimed.
But some professionals say the well being code system has only a very limited affect on avoiding the spread of the omicron variants that are driving outbreaks in the rest of the earth.
“Look at the objective details, in mainland China and Macao, they have had the well being code system managing for pretty some time and but we are seeing the importation of different variants into different cities,” mentioned Dr. Leung Chi-chiu, a respiratory specialist. “COVID-19 is not a little something that we can reduce using a overall health code and that is the goal reality.”
He said that authorities must perform on boosting vaccination fees among the superior-possibility teams this sort of as the elderly and the extremely young, and that if the city wishes to open up to the relaxation of the entire world whilst trying to keep outbreaks in test, it has to 1st start by stress-free social distancing limitations to create up immunity amid its residents.