Editorial : House returning HK people in hotels

【明報專訊】HONG KONG has registered a record number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus for a single day, almost all of which were imported from abroad. As thousands of Hong Kong people are expected to return to Hong Kong from Europe and the US over the next few weeks to flee the pandemic, it is necessary for the government to put in place comprehensive quarantine arrangements at arrival gates so as to reduce the risk of a community outbreak. The government's quarantine and isolation centres are limited in capacity. They have to be reserved for high-risk individuals such as people in close contact with patients diagnosed with the virus. However, it is hardly reassuring that people returning to Hong Kong in their thousands are handled with a compulsory home-quarantine scheme only. The parents of some returning students are also worried, as there are patients with chronic diseases living together with them, and the consequences could be serious if these patients are infected. To prevent home infections from mushrooming, the government should negotiate with the hotel industry actively and arrange for people returning to Hong Kong to stay in designated hotels suitable for the purpose where they can undergo tests for the virus and be kept in quarantine.