Local tours and some community sports classes are expected to resume in early May as Hong Kong’s daily Covid infections remain low, authorities announced on Thursday.
The lawmaker representing the tourism sector, Yiu Si-wing, said he expects local tours to resume on May 8.
Those joining a tour will not have to be vaccinated but must use the government’s tracing app. “We have come to a consensus that people who join local tours would only be required to use the LeaveHomeSafe app. We think it’s a reasonable arrangement,” Yiu told an RTHK programme.
Front-line tourism staff, however, must have had vaccinations.
Some recreational programmes run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, including community sports and swimming classes, will resume gradually from May 3.
Authorities investigating BGI laboratories
The Centre for Health Protection’s Dr Albert Au said authorities were investigating BGI laboratories after it reported 30 preliminary cases, nine of whom tested negative after they were hospitalised. Au said it was unusual for such a high number of cases to be reported by the same laboratory on the same day.
“This is a bit unusual… there are two possibilities. The first is that these cases are true positive cases and there is silent transmission or even an outbreak in the community that has not been detected before,” Au said “Another possibility is that some of these cases are false positives.”
He said authorities have taken the precaution of quarantining close contacts and all 30 cases are currently being treated as positive pending an investigation.
First chartered plane from UK
The first of two flights chartered by the government to bring stranded Hongkong residents back from the UK landed early on Thursday, Under Secretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi confirmed.
All 291 passengers tested negative but will serve a mandatory 21-day quarantine, followed by seven days of self-monitoring. All commercial flights from the UK have been banned since late December, stranding hundreds of people there, but are expected to resume next month.
In response to a question about plans for a travel bubble with Singapore, Chui said authorities were still monitoring the situation. “We need to review every week or every few weeks and it will be based on an assumption of how things develop. Based on the development of the outbreak… we will be making further announcements,” he said.
Hong Kong reported 14 new infections on Thursday, 12 of which were imported. The two local cases – a worker at the Kwai Tsing terminal and a kindergarten teacher – were from untraceable sources.
Of the 165 new infections reported in the last two weeks, 128 were imported, with 59 cases of the UK mutation and 32 cases of the South African mutation.