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When China and Hong Kong talked about prerequisites to open borders quarantine-free late last year, one of them was “no local infections for a while.” Hong Kong then faced its deadliest virus outbreak, which derailed these talks.
Now, despite recent fluctuations in case numbers, the city is more or less on track for recovery. With that, on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that either she or her incoming successor, John Lee, will need to discuss talk to Beijing about whether the COVID-zero policy is non-negotiable.
A date for these talks isn’t set yet, as China is currently going through its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The first thing we need to do – if it happens within my term or John [Lee] has to do within the beginning of his term – is to engage mainland authorities and to understand whether what we have discussed last September to December still stands as the prerequisite,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a regular briefing on Tuesday.
“Let us not overreact on the rise and fall of daily infections,” said Lam. “Fluctuation is inevitable when we see such a low number of cases.” According to Lam, infection levels have stayed low because of the 0.6431 virus reproduction rate, which means that there is less than one person who catches COVID from each person who tests positive.