(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.)

 

The Government did not delay actions in combatting the spread of the novel coronavirus due to non-health reasons, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said today.

 

Mrs Lam made the statement at a press conference in the afternoon, during which she announced the decision to raise Hong Kong’s response level to the emergency level and measures to prevent the virus’ spread.

 

She pointed out that the Government has taken actions in a very systematic manner based on scientific evidence and advice from experts.

 

Mrs Lam explained that the city reached a critical point on January 23 when two confirmed cases of novel coronavirus were announced.

 

“At each stage, the Government’s actions and reactions have to take into account the latest development, the severity of the public health situation and the advice that we receive from our experts.

 

“So, I thought that was a very simple sequence of events. There was absolutely no intention or plan to delay actions because of other non-health reasons. It also has nothing to do with my absence from Hong Kong.”

 

Mrs Lam added that she was in close contact with the Chief Secretary and the Secretary for Food & Health while she was visiting Davos, Switzerland, to attend this year’s World Economic Forum.

 

She also refuted the allegation that the Government did not listen to experts.

 

Responding to a question on whether the Government will continue its appeal against a court ruling on the anti-mask law, Mrs Lam said the ruling has nothing to do with public health.

 

“The appeal against the court decision was not so much on the anti-mask regulation made under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO).

 

“It’s an appeal to make sure that there is still this constitutional validity of the ERO because for any government, for the executive not to have any powers of that sort, it could in a way impede us in responding to emergency situations.”