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Transcript of remarks of press conference on anti-epidemic measures (with photo/video)
     The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, held a press conference on anti-epidemic measures this morning (April 10). Following is the transcript of remarks of the press conference:
Reporter: Good morning, Mrs Lam. What is your takeaway as the RAT (rapid antigen test) testing scheme comes to an end? Do you feel that there's anything that can be done better? And earlier you said that there's no estimate on how many people in total took the RAT during the three-day scheme, so how can you actually tell that that's gonna be the full picture in the next few days? And second of all, you announced relaxation of social distancing measures for the next week. I'm wondering if the full picture of the RAT testing scheme will tie in with next week's announcements. For example, let's say there's a sharp increase in RAT (positive) cases in the next few days, is there a possibility of these measures being delayed? And my third question is on the Singapore-Hong Kong transit. Currently, travellers are not allowed to transit through Singapore Changi Airport to Hong Kong. Is this a Hong Kong-mandated rule or is this Singapore-mandated rule? So with the easing of the flight restrictions, will the Changi Airport transit rule also be addressed? Thank you.
Chief Executive: Thank you for the three questions. First, the exercise to encourage Hong Kong people to take a rapid antigen test every day for the period of April 8 to 10 is coming to an end today insofar as test taking is concerned. But the announcement of the results, i.e. how many are tested positive as a result of taking the RAT, and also reported or declared to the Centre for Health Protection, has yet to be seen because so far we have only got the figures for April 8, and they were announced together with other positive figures yesterday at the 4.30pm press conference by the Centre for Health Protection, so it's still too early to tell. But what I can tell you, and have been telling you, is we will not be able to know how many Hong Kong people have taken the RATs as a response to the Government's appeal. One reason is that this is entirely voluntary. They don't even have to register or come forward. Secondly, (of the people) having taken the tests, we are asking only those tested positive to self-declare so that we could arrange the necessary support for home isolation and treatment for the positive cases. We will not be able to tell. It's not a question of whether we are competent or not; by definition, an exercise of this nature will not be able to come up with a figure on how many Hong Kong residents have taken the tests, but anecdotal evidence suggests that many have. We have been asking around, we have surfed the Facebook pages of different groups, the social media and so on, but naturally in a city like Hong Kong, I'm sure there will be people who do not respond to the Government's appeal.
     What we will know is whether this far more intensive RAT (exercise) will result in more cases. Actually, before we commenced the exercise on April 8, many people told us and warned us that you would be seeing a surge in cases so you'd better be prepared for all your facilities, support measures, hotlines and so on. And we did. We did make full preparation for a surge in positive cases as a result of the RAT (exercise). But as it turned out, the first-day figures do not show this surge. Whether it gave rise to another 300, 400 or not, the total number of RAT-tested positive cases reported yesterday were only 1 600. It's well within our capacity to manage. We'll have to wait and see today, tomorrow or even Tuesday to know exactly the results, i.e. the total number of RAT positive cases, taking into account this exercise because even without this exercise, there will still be some RAT positive cases in a normal day. But I can assure you, in response to your second question, that the relaxation in social distancing measures announced on March 21 and will take place on April 21 is unlikely to be affected by the RAT (exercise), because by now it is quite clear that we are trending down. Our starting position is not April 8; our starting position was March 21. On that day, I think we were seeing 20 000 or 30 000 cases. By and large, unless there is an exponential surge, we will continue to implement the relaxation but the relaxation will be gradual. It will take three stages over three months in order to remove most of the social distancing measures that we have put in, but apparently it will have no particular relevance to the RAT exercise.
     As far as Singapore Changi Airport is concerned, I don't think the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has introduced any measure that will have that impact. Perhaps this is something you should ask the Singapore Government. Singapore was never put as one of the nine place-specific flight suspension countries, so we have been seeing people arriving from Singapore throughout the whole process. But if it is a non-HKR (Hong Kong resident) Singaporean, then I'm sorry, for the time being, we are not allowing non-HKR people to board a flight to come to Hong Kong. Thank you.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Sunday, April 10, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:16
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The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, holds a press conference on measures to fight COVID-19 at the Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (April 10).

Audio / Video

CE holds press conference