Govt in talks to mandate Covid app at high risk venues

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The government is considering mandating premises it considers to be at “high risk” of spreading Covid-19 to join its app-based contact-tracing scheme, the Secretary for Innovation and Technology Alfred Sit Wing-hang said.

This came as the city sees a sudden resurgence of infections in the past few days, sparking fears of a possible fourth wave outbreak in the community. 

Health authorities launched the “Leave Home Safe” app on Monday as part of the anti-epidemic measures to combat the pandemic, users can scan QR codes at places they visit so they can be notified rift's later linked to any Covid-19 cases. 

While Sit had earlier stressed the scheme is voluntary, he made an about-turn today saying officials would consider consulting experts on whether venues like restaurants should be forced to participate in it. 

“It is only rational that we focus our resources on high-risk venues in order to maximize our anti-epidemic efforts,” said Sit, who added around 12,000 premises have joined the scheme. 

“At the moment, a total of 7,000 public venues and around 5,000 shops and restaurants and all private premises are already using the Leave Home Safe app.”

Meanwhile, Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee said authorities are studying ways to impose stricter measures on incoming flights at the airport, such as stiffer circuit breaker measures if there are too many coronavirus cases coming from the same place. 

She said the government is handling the matter meticulously as the number of Hong Kong residents returning from abroad is expected to rise before Christmas and the New Year.