Over the weekend the government reversed its decision to stop Hongkongers returning from Guangdong without undergoing quarantine, after the province confirmed an infection in Guangzhou.

Following criticism from former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, the restriction was later applied only to one district of Guangzhou.

The government says it is now adopting risk assessments by the mainland's National Health Commission.

Ho said this is a good move, because Hong Kong simply doesn’t have enough information to make timely decisions on its own.

“We have to ask whether Hong Kong is able to get the whole picture of the risk levels posed by a particular case [on the mainland],” he said on an RTHK program on Tuesday.

“Scientifically, for Hong Kong to adopt the National Health Commission’s risk assessment, and for it to suspend Return2HK for medium-risk places, is basically better than for Hong Kong to make a decision itself,” said Ho.

“Because Hong Kong can’t possibly learn about details of any particular cases within 24 hours,” he added.

He said he doesn’t think the change will reduce the SAR’s flexibility in terms of anti-epidemic control.

“The fact is, since last year, even for relatively large clusters like the one in a Beijing market – none of it spread to Hong Kong. On the other hand, a considerable number of cases from Hong Kong have gone to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.”