Hong Kong’s Responses to COVID-19Jinxin Sui
The Center for Health Protection published a series of guidelines on the prevention and control of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (See Here). Among others, the Health Advice on Prevention of Coronavirus disease in Workplace (Interim) specifies the recommended precautionary measures for the employers to take at their workplaces to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The Guide On Formulating Business Continuity Plan specifies the emergency preparedness and response requirements for the employers. In addition, the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599F) specifies the requirements for the companies engaged in the catering business and other entertainment businesses.
Maintaining social distancing is key to delay the spread of COVID-19. The Government published the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap.599G) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599G) to prohibit any group gathering of more than 4 persons in any public place. The Regulation enters into force on March 29, 2020.
The public are strongly urged to avoid non-essential travel outside Hong Kong. If it is unavoidable to travel to countries / areas outside Hong Kong, they should put on a surgical mask and continue to do so for 14 days upon their return to Hong Kong (See Here).
Starting from March 25, 2020, all non-Hong Kong residents arriving by air from overseas countries or regions are not allowed to enter Hong Kong. In addition, non-Hong Kong residents from the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan are not allowed to enter Hong Kong if they have visited overseas countries or regions in the past 14 days. (See Here) All people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Macau are required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. (See Here)
From March 19, 2020, the Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme, which provides a free testing service for COVID-19, will be further extended to cover asymptomatic persons under the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599E) , with an aim of identifying cases of COVID-19 early in order to minimize the risk of community transmission.
Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
– Department of Health (https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/resources/464/102466.html)
– The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/index.html)