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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session before the Executive Council (ExCo) meeting today (June 7):
Reporter: Mrs Lam, I have two questions for you. Number one is that can you elaborate on what your definition of an increasing trend is because you've said that multiple indicators (are) going up but you cannot see an increasing trend yet, so can you elaborate on this point? And also what will the Government do to boost the vaccination rate of care homes because only about 56 per cent and 14 per cent have (had) the second and third doses? Can you also confirm that you and other senior officials and ExCo Members will be put under the week-long closed-loop arrangement by the end of this month to prepare for the President's visit? How would the rebound in cases going to affect the President's visit to Hong Kong, and how would this closed-loop arrangement affect the Government's operation? Thank you.
Chief Executive: Of the several questions, first of all, we have witnessed an increase in the number of positive cases since the beginning of June, that is, this month, which gets us a little bit concerned. And as a result of the increase in the positive cases, and since we have allowed confirmed cases - infected people - to stay at home where appropriate for home isolation, it is only natural or inevitable that some of the indicators will also go up, for example, the viral load in the sewage. Because these people are living at home, the sewage coming out from their buildings will carry a higher viral load.
     For the time being, it is a bit too early to say that we are now confronting a sixth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, because it needs a lot more indicators in order to confirm the situation. I'm convening a meeting with my experts later today to listen to their advice and see what other measures we have to put in place. For the time being, I could not give you a categorical answer on when a trend will arise as a result of the current situation. But it is always essential for every one of us to be as prudent and cautious as possible in terms of personal precautionary measures, that is wearing a mask, observing the social distancing measures, avoiding unnecessary crowd gatherings, and so on, particularly in the scheduled premises, so I have asked the law enforcement departments to step up their inspections and law enforcement on a daily basis.
     We have introduced and implemented the Government COVID-19 Vaccination Programme since February last year. At every stage, we have rolled out various measures in order to boost the vaccination rates and it has proven to be extremely essential in order to keep the severity of the infected people to as low a level as possible. That's why I said that despite the rise that we have seen in confirmed cases and other indicators, the hospital admissions and the number of patients who are critical or serious or require intensive care remain at a very low level. I am sure this has something to do with the vaccination that we have carried out in Hong Kong. Specifically about residential care homes for the elderly, I think all of us have learnt a hard lesson of not being quick enough in making sure that our elderly in residential institutions were fully vaccinated before the fifth wave hit us. And there is a combination of factors. It is not just entirely the Government's issue. I'm sure you remember, for a time, many of the relatives and family members of these elderly residents resisted vaccination for the elderly people. At the moment, I think, so far, we've got full co-operation from the homes. We still have the outreach teams of medical and nursing staff to go out to visit the homes and to apply the jabs. The reason why the rates could not increase as fast as one would like to see is that many of them were infected. There are good reasons to ensure that there is a sufficient interval before we administer the vaccines. So far, I have not heard of any particular problems or impediments from my team led by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Patrick Nip, that we are facing problems in raising the vaccination rates in the residential care homes.
     Finally, I cannot confirm at this moment that there will be a visit by the President of our country. That's why I could not answer your specific questions. Thank you.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Issued at HKT 13:27
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