Southern Africa arrivals should complete entire quarantine at Penny’s Bay, says health expert

30-Nov-2021 Intellasia | TheStandard | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A health expert on Monday urged the government to put fully vaccinated Hongkongers returning from eight African countries in quarantine camps for the entire 21 days, instead of moving them to a quarantine hotel after day 7 of their quarantine.

The SAR government on Friday said it will ban non-Hong Kong residents arriving from eight southern African states from entering the territory if they had stayed in those countries within the past 21 days.

However, fully vaccinated residents can still arrive from those countries but will have to quarantine for three weeks, with their first seven days at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre.

Speaking on a radio programme, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said it’s strange for the arrivals to spend only seven days at the quarantine centre before moving them to quarantine hotels for another two weeks of isolation.

“The government hasn’t explained why it’s adopting such a strange arrangement. I believe there wouldn’t be a great number of passenger flights from the eight countries in southern Africa… And if we are not expecting a lot of Hongkongers returning from these places, there’s no need to move them around,” he said.

Ho said the transportation process may pose risks to both the quarantined individuals and the frontline workers involved. He also added that there are still some loopholes at quarantine hotels which haven’t been plugged.

Meanwhile, government pandemic advisor David Hui Shu-cheong said it helps for travellers to spend their first week at a quarantine centre, but if there are enough rooms, the government can put them there for the entire quarantine period.

“After all, ventilation at Penny’s Bay is better. The risk faced by staff members collecting specimen will be much lower. Also, the Department of Health has analysed around 500 recent imported cases and found that 92 percent were identified in the first seven days. It means the risk is highest in the first week,” said Hui.

Both experts agreed that even though Covid vaccines may not be as effective against Omicron as they are against other variants, they will still help prevent serious symptoms.,-says-health-expert


Category: Hong Kong

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