The Hong Kong government has announced that it will extend its various laws covering anti-epidemic measures till September 30, 2022. The eight emergency regulations that come under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance were set to expire this month.
While the regulations have been extended for six months, it does not mean that all the current Covid-19 restrictions – such as mask-wearing in country parks or the two-person limit on public gatherings, for instance – will be in force till that date. In fact, the government had previously announced that social distancing measures will be gradually loosened starting April 21.
The government press release issued on March 29 states, “It does not imply that the restrictions currently imposed under those regulations will be maintained until the corresponding expiry dates. The Government may adjust specific restrictions and conditions subject to development of the epidemic situation and the needs of overall epidemic control in Hong Kong as well as resumption of social and economic activities.”
Which regulations have been extended?
Cap. 599C: Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong
What does it cover? Entry conditions such as quarantine that apply to anyone arriving in Hong Kong from Mainland China.
Cap. 599D: Prevention and Control of Disease (Disclosure of Information) Regulation
What does it cover? The right of a health officer or any other authorised officer to request information that is “relevant to the handling of the public health emergency”, which in this case is the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cap. 599E: Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation
What does it cover? Entry requirements for anyone who arrives in Hong Kong from places other than China. Key points include mandatory quarantine at a specified place for a certain period of time. Currently, all international arrivals must quarantine for a minimum of seven days at a designated quarantine hotel (DHQ).
Cap. 599F: Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation
What does it cover? The social distancing restrictions that restaurants and other businesses, such as gyms and places of worship, have to operate within, such as whether they can open, the number of people allowed to sit at a table, limited hours of dine-in service, and the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app to enter these premises.
Cap. 599G: Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Gathering) Regulation
What does it cover? The number of people who are allowed to gather in private and in public, except places under Cap. 599F.
Cap. 599H: Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation
What does it cover? Restrictions on vehicles and individuals that cross the border between the mainland and Hong Kong.
Cap. 599I: Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation
What does it cover? Mask-wearing indoors and/or outdoors, depending on the current social-distancing restrictions. It also specifies conditions under which people should wear masks on public transport and restaurants.
Cap. 599J: Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation
What does it cover? Regulations such as compulsory testing notices and restriction declaration testing, otherwise known as building lockdowns.