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Government responds to enquiries on latest advice of WHO
     ​Regarding media enquiries on World Health Organization (WHO)'s announcement that the COVID-19 epidemic situation no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, a spokesman for the Government gave the following response today (May 6):

     After the lifting of the mandatory mask-wearing requirement in early March, all anti-epidemic measures applicable to the general public were lifted and the society has fully resumed normalcy. COVID-19 is now managed as per general upper respiratory tract illness, while the focus of anti-epidemic measures is the protection of the high-risk groups.

     Following WHO's announcement yesterday (May 5) that the COVID-19 epidemic situation no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, the Government will make reference to WHO's latest advice on the epidemic situation in assessing the local situation and relevant risks, as well as the mutation of COVID-19 strains, thereby appraising the epidemic prevention and control response level, and adjusting the remaining measures and arrangements in relation to the epidemic accordingly. Announcements will be made in due course as appropriate.

     The WHO also pointed out that although the phase of COVID-19 taken as a public health emergency of international concern was over, the pandemic is ongoing. As the number of local infected cases keeps climbing recently, the Government will continue to closely monitor the situation of COVID-19 mutations and the risks with emphasis on the protection of high-risk groups, and keep watch of WHO's latest assessments. We also call on those who have not completed the first three doses of vaccine, as well as persons in the high-risk groups who have not yet received vaccine boosters as per experts' recommendation, to get vaccinated as early as possible for protection of oneself and one's family.

     During the past three years of the anti-epidemic journey, the Government has all along been responding to COVID-19 based on the principles of science-based and targeted anti-epidemic measures, as well as the proper management of risks and citizen-focused facilitation. We also continually review the effectiveness of each aspect of the anti-epidemic response for continued enhancement. The Government would like to thank members of the public and all sectors of the community for their support of and co-operation on various anti-epidemic measures. The Government will continue to closely monitor the latest situation of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, making every effort to safeguard public health.
Ends/Saturday, May 6, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:24
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