Hong Kong’s Secretary for Health Professor Lo Chung-mau said that the LeaveHomeSafe app will feature a red code to identify confirmed Covid-19 patients, and a yellow code for inbound travellers if the government implements a home health monitoring arrangement. Lo also said that confirmed patients under home quarantine must start wearing a wristband starting from July 15 to ensure they do not leave their homes during the period of their isolation order.
When asked about whether the government will end hotel quarantine altogether, Lo said, “We are analysing the data and we would consider every option, including changing some of the designated hotel quarantine into home quarantine or home health monitoring. That’s one of the reasons that we have to have effective measures, including the yellow health code I’ve mentioned. [This is] to make sure that if we allow them for home health monitoring, they would not get into high-risk areas and put our community at risk.”
Lo, who was speaking at the daily Covid-19 press briefing on Sunday, said that the yellow code is to prevent inbound travellers under home isolation from entering high-risk premises such as hospitals, care homes and venues where there are mask-off activities. When asked for more details about the arrangement — such as when it will begin or what the mask-off activities would include — Lo said that the government is studying data from the new Day 3 PCR test for overseas arrivals and will make an announcement based on that.
The move comes after authorities recently suspended the five-day ban on flights that brought in a certain number of passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival into Hong Kong from specific points of origin. However, the government also added a Day 3 PCR test for inbound travellers to undergo while under quarantine to strike a balance between reducing restrictions on travellers and curbing the spread of the virus. Currently, all overseas travellers to Hong Kong must spend a minimum of seven days at a Designated Quarantine Hotel (DQH).
The Secretary also said that this new colour coding system will be different from the red and blue QR codes that the LHS app displays as part of the vaccine pass. Under this arrangement, Hong Kong residents and visitors can only enter certain premises if they have received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccination. They must upload their vaccination records or medical exemption certificates on the LHS app, which will display a blue QR code if their records are up to date or a red QR code if they are not.
In addition, the LHS app will have a real-name registration requirement when the colour-coding system comes into effect.
Header image credits: Screen capture