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Balanced approach to curbing virus

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   Chief Executive John Lee today said he has asked the Secretary for Health to review the current anti-epidemic measures, aiming to strike a balance between containing the virus spread and reducing the inconvenience to travellers.   Meeting the media this morning before chairing the first meeting of the new-term Executive Council, Mr Lee said the Secretary for Health is considering how the duration of quarantine should be handled.   “I am giving him time to look at the statistics so that he will formulate some options for me to consider.”   At the same time, the Government will strive to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control and protect those who are more vulnerable to the virus, he noted.   “One of the important measures is to make good use of the polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test so that we can be certain that we will be able to identify those who are infected early, separate

Travel bubble talks halted

Hong Kong and Singapore have decided not to pursue further discussions on the bilateral Air Travel Bubble after taking into account the differences in the anti-epidemic strategies currently adopted by both sides.   The two governments announced the decision today, saying that they will continue to facilitate movements of travellers between both places under their respective border control measures.   The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government noted that the discussions on the travel bubble, which began in the second half of 2020, had gone through a long period of evolvement of the COVID-19 epidemic situation.   The discussions were all along premised upon similar anti-epidemic strategies adopted by the two places, aiming to reduce local caseloads to a minimum.   However, Singapore has now moved towards a new strategy of building a "COVID-resilient" nation and therefore the basic premises that underpin the travel bubble have changed.   For example, the seven-day moving average of unlinked local cases, which is the criterion for suspending and resuming the travel bubble as per the agreed framework, may not be kept consistently at the required level in Singapore as a result of its new strategy.   The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that Hong Kong and Singapore remained committed to facilitating connectivity between both places and would continue to maintain dialogue as well as share experiences.   It also welcomed Singapore's announcement to unilaterally allow entry of travellers from Hong Kong into Singapore quarantine-free from August 20, adding that it is a step forward in resuming cross-border travel between the two regional aviation hubs and international cities.   For travellers coming to Hong Kong from Singapore, including both Hong Kong residents and non-Hong Kong residents, they may refer to the arrangements for inbound travellers from Group B specified places.
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