Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Hong Kong’s Covid measures

Vaccine Pass

Under this scheme, everyone aged 12 or above was required to receive 3 doses of COVID vaccine before they were allowed entry into several premises, such as restaurants, gyms, clubs and bars, barber shops, shopping malls and supermarkets. 4 For most of these venues, your vaccination record was checked by scanning a QR code on your record. Apart from that, only fully vaccinated individuals were allowed to enter Hong Kong from overseas areas. Also, as in-person teaching resumed for local schools, students were encouraged to be vaccinated in order to participate in non-academic activities at school, such as extracurricular activities and selected unmasked activities. Figure 1: Vaccination rate in Hong Kong by age. Source: Our World in Data, 2022.

‘ Leavehomesafe ’ contact tracing app

This app allowed the government to carry out contact tracing. By scanning a QR code at a venue, the app registers your presence and records the length of the stay until you exit the venue and press the leave button. If an infected person has visited the same venue, the app sends a notification to the user, notifying them of potential exposure to COVID. After early December 2021, it was mandatory to use this app in all government premises, restaurants, shopping malls, supermarkets, gyms, swimming pools, and other entertainment venues. 5 However, during the height of the fifth wave of COVID, most of these leisure venues were shut. A ban on in-person dining after 6pm was instituted, as well as a 2-person maximum limit per table for dine-in at restaurants.

Compulsory Testing Orders & Lockdowns

Compulsory testing orders were issued for persons in close contact with infected COVID patients. Typically, if a person visited the same place at the same time – for example, at a shopping mall or at a restaurant – as a COVID positive person, they had to undergo at most 6 rounds of PCR testing over 21 days. 6 The government also implemented the strategy of ‘ Ambush Lockdowns ’ throughout the pandemic. In such situations, individual apartment blocks or entire streets were cordoned off by the police and Health Department workers. Everyone inside the affected area was not allowed to leave before getting a PCR test and a negative result.

4 HKSARG – b, 2022. 5 LeaveHomeSafe (HKSARG), 2022. 6 HKSARG – c, 2022.


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