An NGO called on Chief Executive John Lee to prioritize resuming quarantine-free travel with the mainland in his first policy speech on Wednesday.
The appeal was part of a series of measures proposed by the Society for Community Organizing (SoCO), which petitioned on Sunday outside the government headquarters in Tamar.
Sze Lai-shan, deputy director of the company, said the pandemic has made life very difficult for those who work or have families across the border in recent years.
“It’s related to their work. Some even have their materials on the mainland. With the [restricted] border, it is really difficult to transport the materials and they cannot work,” she said.
“They have an elderly family [members] on the mainland, they are sick and have to take care of themselves. In fact, they are very worried about whether the border will be open. If the border is closed and they have to be quarantined, they have no money to pay for the hotel. There are a lot of difficulties.”
Sze also urged the chief executive to address the housing needs of low-income families, such as increasing the supply of public housing and reducing waiting times, and to put in place a key performance indicator (KPIs).
“We are concerned about the needs of disadvantaged people. Many of them live in subdivided apartments, and the living conditions are very poor. They have been waiting for social housing for a long time. They are asking the Chief Executive to have a KPI, for example, the waiting time should be three years,” she said.
The average wait for social housing is now six years.