Coronavirus outbreak: Carrie Lam says Hong Kong planning to extend travel restrictions

South China Morning Post

Chief executive reveals move before weekly cabinet meeting and says countries involved will be named later on Tuesday

South China Morning Post |

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The government will impose travel restrictions on other countries to control the spread of the epidemic.

Hong Kong could impose travel restrictions against more countries that have been hit by the coronavirus epidemic, leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday.

Speaking before her weekly cabinet meeting, the chief executive also urged residents to avoid all foreign travel.

She said the government would contact consulates from at least one country, and announce the new restrictions later on Tuesday.

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While not specifically naming any countries, Lam referred to the number of cases and imported cases from Italy and India.

Hong Kong has already quarantined travellers from South Korea, northern Italy and Iran.
Lam hinted that the government could introduce a range of measures such as banning entry and issuing outbound travel alerts to a particular country or region within hours, but did not elaborate.
“The last thing [we want] is for the consulates to hear it from a press conference without being told about it in advance,” Lam said.
Italy has the most cases outside mainland China, while the number of infections in the rest of Europe is also on the rise.

But Lam also said on Tuesday it was time for public services and businesses to gradually return to normal.

“Everybody is saying that this epidemic will last long. I’m sure everyone will agree that we can’t put a halt to businesses or livelihoods for too long,” Lam said, adding there was no intention of relaxing controls at crossings along the mainland border “for the time being”.

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“Because of the uncertainty in the global situation there are no plans yet to loosen any measures we have put in place, but this has to be reviewed almost on a daily basis.”

Since February 8, travellers returning from the mainland have had to be quarantined at home for 14 days.