(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s leader dismissed calls for an independent commission to look into the city’s handling of the Covid pandemic.

“Some individuals believe that there is a need for us to conduct an independent investigation into the various anti-epidemic measures,” John Lee said at his weekly press briefing. “Some others disagree. I disagree too to that proposal.” 

The city was forced to turn to the central government for help early last year when the rapid spread of omicron caused a wave of deaths among unvaccinated elderly, resulting in one of the deadliest outbreaks globally. Strict Covid curbs isolated the city for years, spurring a historic exodus of residents and hammering its economy.

Executive Council convener Regina Ip on Friday became the latest to suggest the government conduct a review of its approach toward the virus, following a call by microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung and others, according to the South China Morning Post. 

Under local legislation, only the city’s leader has the power to set up a Commissions of Inquiry. In recent years, there were CoIs into a ferry collision, excess lead in drinking water at public housing estates and the construction of an underground railway.

Lee took office in July after running unopposed. Since then he has rolled back Covid measures imposed by his predecessor Carrie Lam, who presided over the city’s most turbulent period in decades. 

Lee also said he hopes to remove the mask mandate — the city’s only remaining pandemic curb —when the winter surge over, without giving dates. 

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