A team of traditional Chinese medicine experts from mainland China have arrived in Hong Kong, becoming the fourth batch of specialists from across the border sent to assist the city in its anti-epidemic work.

Tong Xiaolin from the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and experts comprising a delegation from the mainland arrive at Shenzhen Bay Port on March 29, 2022. Photo: Screenshot, via GovHK.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, health secretary Sophia Chan and other officials welcomed the team at Shenzhen Bay Port on Hong Kong’s border on Tuesday morning.

“Hong Kong can learn from the way that the mainland has used Chinese medicine to fight the epidemic,” Lam said, addressing a group of reporters.

At present, the “government’s efforts in fighting the epidemic is to prevent critical illness and of course to prevent deaths. That’s why [the] participation [of Chinese medical experts] will be very beneficial in achieving this objective,” she said, adding that traditional Chinese medicine was “highly effective.”

Chief Executive Carrie Lam responds to reporters’ questions at Shenzhen Bay Port on March 29, 2022. Photo: GovHK, via screenshot.

The delegation of seven medical practitioners will be stationed at the AsiaWorld-Expo Covid-19 isolation centre, which treats elderly patients in a stable condition.

Lam said she had also requested that the experts visit elderly homes to “see what more can be done to reduce the risk of infection there.” Elderly homes have emerged as hotspots during Hong Kong’s fifth-wave outbreak, with over half of the fatalities occurring among residents of the facilities.

Downward trend, but vigilance urged

The city recorded 7,596 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, the lowest daily case count in about a month. Health authorities and experts have said that the epidemic appears to have stabilised, but urged Hongkongers to remain vigilant.

Another 171 Covid-19 deaths were confirmed, including 20 backlogged cases that were earlier unreported.

Last week, Lam revealed a timetable for the relaxation of social distancing measures, which are currently at their strictest since the epidemic began over two years ago.

Providing that the number of infections continues to drop, the government will begin relaxing restrictions on social gatherings in three stages from April 21, starting with extending the dine-in hours of restaurants until 10 p.m. and reopening premises such as beauty salons and gyms.

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