(Bloomberg) -- A Hong Kong health official said the Asian financial hub is unlikely to again see a day without any Covid-19 infections after keeping the virus largely at bay for the first two years of the pandemic.

While cases won’t return to zero -- a feat the city managed for most of last year due to some of the world’s strictest quarantine policies -- the daily tally is likely to continue its downward trend, health official Albert Au said at a briefing on Thursday. 

“We expect coronavirus will linger in the community and will have certain transmissions,” he said. “Before the fifth wave, we could do Covid Zero. After the fifth wave, this is not necessarily feasible.”

Hong Kong is looking to further relax some of its Covid rules as cases decline, with expectations building that an announcement about the end of mandatory hotel quarantine may come in days. Chief Executive John Lee this week said he’s reconsidering the virus measure that has hurt the city’s competitiveness and standing as a global financial center, with officials in mainland China signaling their approval of efforts to reopen to the world.

Read more: Hong Kong to Cut Hotel Quarantine as China Shows Support

Public hospitals will also restart some non-emergency procedures that were halted as a flareup in cases in recent months strained health-care facilities, Hospital Authority Chief Manager Sara Ho said at the briefing. The process will be gradual and on a hospital-by-hospital basis, with the system wanting to reserve flexibility, she said.

Ho didn’t specify which services will return. Hospitals started suspending procedures including endoscopies and elective surgeries in July in order to shift resources to caring for the rising number of Covid patients.

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