To facilitate the border reopening, users of a Hong Kong health code must register with their real names and addresses, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said.
The criterion was set during a virtual meeting between Hong Kong authorities with the National Health Commission last Tuesday, Chan said. It can ensure that once a Covid
-19 patient crosses the border, he or she could be traced down as soon as possible without triggering an outbreak.
The mainland has required residents to use a health code, which determines which locations they can visit based on their risks of getting Covid
-19. Hong Kong is developing its own version of the health code to facilitate quarantine-less travel to the mainland, and what functions the code should have are still being debated among representatives from the SAR and the mainland.
During the meeting, the two parties have reached reached a consensus on multiple aspects, including how to maintain a "zero infection" status and not bring additional risks to the mainland. Experts from the mainland also indicated that they may come to Hong Kong to review the city's Covid
-19 prevention measures.
Following reports that the Hong Kong government may extend the mandatory use of the LeaveHomeSafe app to cover “type B” restaurants as soon as mid-November, Chan said there has been discussion with catering representatives on its feasibility.
Type B restaurants can seat four diners at a table and can operate until 10pm. Under current regulations, diners can choose to use the LeaveHomeSafe app or leave their personal info on paper.
Chan said that the more places adopt mandatory use of LeaveHomeSafe, the greater the benefits of pandemic prevention.
As for whether the business hours of restaurants could be extended following the change, she said that authorities will strike a balance between benefits and risks.
Last week, reports hinted that quarantine-free travel with Shenzhen could start next month at the earliest.
A Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office representative said the mainland and Hong Kong are working toward the border reopening in a “gradual manner,” and that Beijing has maintained close communication and exchanged opinions with the SAR.