Transcript of remarks by CS at media session (with photos/video)
Reporter: Good evening. Thank you for coming after the long meeting. My first question is about, so we are confirmed that there will not be any lockdown, can you elaborate a bit more about the task force that is going to be set up to help Hong Kong? Does that entail that personnel will be coming to Hong Kong for, to speed up the genetic processing of COVID-19 samples? And for my second question is that the discussions today were mainly focused on tracing, testing and isolation treatment; did the Mainland provide a timeline on vaccinating the population given that the situation with 42 different elderly care homes having cases is also very severe at the moment?
Chief Secretary: I seem to have heard that you asked about lockdown. At the present moment, we don't have this plan because we believe that with the enhanced measures that we have introduced, it will take its effect because we have just introduced some tighter social distancing measures, and also, with the assistance from the Mainland, we believe that our capability will be increased and we will be seeing positive improvement in those areas.
Regarding possible arrangement for Mainland people to come to Hong Kong for our assistance, this is a subject of discussion. It is agreed that if there is a need for some personnel to come to Hong Kong to help us boost up our testing capabilities, then this definitely will be an area that the Mainland authorities will likely consider and give assistance. But the thing is there are several options that we discussed during the meeting. We are very grateful to the Mainland experts and colleagues who have highlighted where their strengths are, and how these strengths can be preserved even if they are offering assistance to Hong Kong. Obviously, how things are run and practised in the Mainland may have to be modified a little bit if it is to be applied in Hong Kong. That modification may or may not affect the effectiveness or efficiency of the whole arrangement. There may be positive areas that some of the strengths in the system can be maintained by dividing responsibilities and functions between what are those that are best to be taken in Hong Kong, and what are those that may best be done as background support in the Mainland.
That is the reason why we establish all these special task forces to examine the technicality, the possible options and the best implementation plan. We all agreed that this should take place immediately and that is why I have already reported to the Chief Executive, who has already directed that we will all proceed to examine all these options immediately, and I, for example, will be talking to and discussing with government officials of different bureaux and departments to take forward the different task forces' subjects so as to make sure that things will progress as soon as possible.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, February 12, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:57
Issued at HKT 23:57