No more ‘baby steps’ in Covid curbs easings, health expert urges

University of Hong Kong's microbiologist Ho Pak-leung on Tuesday urged authorities not to take further “baby steps” in easing the city’s Covid rules, and to lift measures that were unpractical - including the LeaveHomeSafe QR code scanning mandate.

Speaking on a radio program this morning, the health expert said the SAR government should take bold steps to drastically relax the city’s social distancing measures in view of the current Covid situation.

He said “pro forma” and unpractical measures such as the scanning of LeaveHomeSafe QR codes before entering designated venues should be canceled.

He also suggested triple-jabbed individuals to be exempted from compulsory nucleic acid tests, and isolation requirements for Covid close contacts to be removed when they tested negative through RATs.

As for inbound control measures, Ho said authorities should scrap the amber health code arrangement and the nucleic acid test requirements for incoming travelers.

At present, incoming travelers no longer have to undergo hotel quarantine, but are given an amber code that bars them from going to restaurants or other regulated places for three days and requires them to test regularly for Covid-19, under the “0+3” arrangement.

Meanwhile, the microbiologist said studies in Brazil showed that taking the BioNTech Covid vaccine as a third dose after two Sinovac doses is more effective in preventing the infection and serious diseases than taking Sinovac as the third dose.

He said citizens could consider taking the BioNTech vaccine as their third dose if they have opted for the Sinovac vaccine for their first two jabs, while also taking into account their personal health conditions.