Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she doesn’t yet foresee a need to alter plans to reopen the city’s border with the mainland, despite China reporting its first case of the omicron variant.
Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, told reporters at a regular news briefing Tuesday that the officials from the city had met with mainland counterparts in neighbouring Guangdong province to discuss reopening plans. The discussions are continuing despite China’s northern port of Tianjin confirming the country’s first omicron case in an incoming traveller, according to the Global Times newspaper.
“At this moment, I do not see the change to what we are doing in terms of resumption of normal travel into the mainland, as a result of omicron,” Lam told reporters. “But because this variant and the whole situation could be changing very rapidly, so I could provide a no absolute guarantee.”
Hong Kong has maintained one of the world’s strictest Covid-control policies, subjecting all visitors, vaccinated or not, to lengthy quarantines. Lam and other officials have defended the policy as necessary to reopen the border with the mainland, where its Covid-Zero approach is being tested by the new, seemingly more contagious variant.
While Hong Kong has so far reported seven omicron imported cases, it hasn’t confirmed any infections in the community.