China: The city's commerce minister has stated that Hong Kong has room to further relax Covid-19 quarantine regulations for visitors if caseloads decrease but has also cautioned residents not to let their guard down as the epidemic situation remains unstable.
Algernon Yau Ying-wah, the secretary for commerce and economic development, stated on Saturday that although arrivals had increased as a result of the new "3+4" quarantine arrangement, officials needed more time for review before possibly loosening more restrictions.
Citing a number of upcoming events scheduled for the city and noting that it was an opportunity to increase vibrancy and "tell Hong Kong's story," he continued by saying that authorities were considering changes for the exhibition sector.
The week-long hotel isolation for international arrivals has been reduced to three days plus four more of "home medical surveillance," which permits restricted city movement, as of August 12.
"The most crucial factor is epidemic control and prevention. "I think there is room to think about loosening the quarantine policy again if the infection recedes," Yau said on a radio programme on Saturday.
"However, given that there were 6,000 new cases reported yesterday, the situation is still tense. Regarding the development, we must exercise extreme caution.
On Friday, the city reported 6,445 coronavirus infections, the highest daily total since March 31, including 185 cases from other countries and eight additional fatalities. Health officials claimed that local cases accounted for the majority of the figures.
Last Sunday saw a record number of travellers and residents arrive in Hong Kong thanks to the recently relaxed quarantine regulations; this is up from 6,087 the Sunday before on August 7.
While the business community supported the loosened regulations, the exhibition industry urged the government to exclude trade shows from the types of locations that are off-limits to people who are under medical observation. Authorities were examining whether such an adjustment could be made, according to Yau.
At the end of the year, he said, a number of international events would be held locally, giving the city a chance to showcase its energy and "tell Hong Kong's story."
For the first time since 2019, the Hong Kong Sevens was anticipated to return to the city in November, and the government has also invited international financiers to a two-day financial summit that same month.
In the meantime, the infected 27-month-old child who experienced croup symptoms, which are marked by an obstruction of the airway brought on by a viral infection, was finally released from Covid-19 on Friday, according to Dr. Mike Kwan Yat-wah, a consultant at Princess Margaret Hospital's paediatric infectious disease unit.
"He is healing up nicely. I don't think there will be any longer-term repercussions," he said. "I'd say he was extremely fortunate. He might not get enough oxygen to his brain if treatment were delayed, which would result in permanent damage.
According to Kwan, there are now nearly one case of croup per day in Hong Kong, and more kids are being admitted to hospitals after contracting the illness.
He claimed that two to five weeks after recovering from COVID-19, health officials had received 60 reports of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which includes high fever, skin rash, and diarrhoea. Some kids were being given intensive care.
He emphasised that there was enough scientific evidence to demonstrate that vaccination can prevent both acute and long-term Covid-19 symptoms in children, and he urged more young people to get shots.