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Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee stresses balance in easing Covid quarantine

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee (Kin Cheung/AP)
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee (Kin Cheung/AP)

Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee said he will work on easing restrictions for travellers while balancing the risks of a coronavirus outbreak overwhelming the health care system.

Hong Kong and mainland China are among the few places in the world that still quarantine arrivals to reduce the spread of the virus two-and-a-half years into the pandemic.

Most travellers going to Hong Kong are required to serve a seven-day mandatory quarantine at designated hotels.

Mr Lee, a former security official who was the only candidate in the election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, took office on Friday, succeeding Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive John Lee leaves the podium after giving a speech following a swearing-in ceremony
Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive John Lee leaves the podium after giving a speech following a swearing-in ceremony (Selim Chtayti/Pool Photo/AP)

Speaking at his first press conference ahead of an executive council meeting on Tuesday, Mr Lee said Hong Kong is an “international city” and he is “conscious” of the need for Hong Kong to remain open and convenient to travellers.

“But it is also important that we address the risks at the same time so that we will maintain good balance,” he said.

Mr Lee said the city’s health minister is evaluating data to determine how the quarantine duration could be adjusted and will formulate options for Mr Lee to consider.

Covid-19 cases have been rising in Hong Kong, with more than 1,000 daily since mid-June, compared to just over a hundred daily in early May.

The city reported 1,841 new infections on Monday.

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