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2022-09-13 HKT 11:26
Chief Executive John Lee on Tuesday said his administration could not turn a blind eye to how Covid-19 has affected Hong Kong's healthcare services and high-risk groups, as he warned against complacency.
Speaking before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lee said the coronavirus situation remains severe, with recent daily infection numbers between 8,000 and 11,000.
"The government cannot turn a blind eye to these two very facts that the hospitals have already cut 30 percent of their services in order to deal with the Covid epidemic, and also, the high-risk groups are under real threats to their health and to their lives, because the vaccination rate for these high-risk groups is still unsatisfactory," Lee said.
"Whilst we are very conscious of ensuring that society can go back to day-to-day life as freely as possible, economy to grow, and competitiveness to be ensured, we have to balance the need with the risks...When the vaccination [uptake] reaches a high level for all age groups, then there will be a lot more freedom and liberty for us to consider."
The CE stressed that people should not treat the coronavirus as if it is flu, saying Covid causes a much higher number of deaths.
Lee also said officials and government pandemic advisers have to be consistent in their messages to the public.
"We welcome, of course, different opinions and we always exchange views freely. But we also want to inform the public of decisions that the government made clearly and precisely, so that there will be no mixed messages, so that people will not be confused with what the government wants to do and the [rationale] behind the government decision," he said.