'Follow gathering ban, or we can trace you' - RTHK
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'Follow gathering ban, or we can trace you'

2022-02-09 HKT 12:16
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  • Permanent Secretary for Food and Health Thomas Chan warns that authorities have strong contact tracing abilities, and they will take action if there are any violations of the two-household rule. File photo: RTHK
    Permanent Secretary for Food and Health Thomas Chan warns that authorities have strong contact tracing abilities, and they will take action if there are any violations of the two-household rule. File photo: RTHK
A senior health official has urged people to comply with the ban on private gatherings of more than two households, saying authorities will enforce the law on Thursday if investigations find people have broken the rule.

Speaking on a radio programme, the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health, Thomas Chan, said officials want to send a clear message to the public that such gatherings should stop now, to help control the Omicron-driven fifth wave of Covid infections.

But he said there are some exemptions to the private-gathering rule.

“If carers are there to take care of someone, and they aren’t just visiting, then they won’t count towards the two-household limit,” Chan said.

“There are many situations, like people visiting a home for repair work, delivery or for barber services. These involve only two households, so they won’t violate the rule.”

The official said he believes most citizens will cooperate with the requirement, which kicks in on Thursday, and authorities won’t patrol and check people’s homes as this would cause too much disturbance.

However, he warned that authorities have strong contact tracing abilities, and they will take action if there are any violations.

On the vaccine pass scheme, Chan reiterated that people who are just going through shopping malls to head to work or return home would be exempt from the vaccine mandate when it comes into force on February 24.

So would people who are buying takeaways, doing delivery or repair work, or going for vaccinations, Covid tests or medical treatment, he said.

The official added that in future, authorities will conduct spot checks at crowded places like malls and supermarkets.