Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau said from Friday, people infected with Covid-19 and under home isolation orders will need to wear electronic wristbands to ensure they do not flout regulations and leave their homes prematurely.
He said authorities are also looking into turning the QR codes of infected patients red on their LeaveHomeSafe app as a further safeguard against non-compliance.
The health chief stressed that such a measure would make it easier to identify people who are infected, and a real-name registration system would help ensure the system is effective.
The proposal is part of a new ‘health code’ system being considered, that would also see inbound travellers who have completed their hotel quarantines but are still under monitoring, be given a 'yellow' code.
Lo said this group of people would be allowed to resume some normal activities, such as going to work or school – but they would be restricted from participating in mask-off activities or enter premises deemed to be high risk, such as hospitals or elderly homes. However, he said there are no current plans to bar them from taking public transport. Further details, Lo said, would be given later.
He stressed that the authorities had taken the local infection situation into consideration in considering updates to the city’s anti-epidemic measures.
“Every city is different. Hong Kong is very different from Shanghai or Macau, in terms of the total population, in terms of the age distribution, and also in terms of the vaccination as well as the fact that Hong Kong has already had the fifth wave which has caused widespread infections. We’ve paid the price,” he said.
“In addition, Hong Kong is a very international hub. All these are considered when we design our policy,” he added.
Lo made the announcement at a daily press briefing, where health officials reported 2,611 new local infections for Monday, and 252 imported cases.
There were also seven Covid-related deaths.
The Hospital Authority said there’s been a substantial increase in the number of Covid patients being admitted, as well as those in serious or critical condition.
It added that more than 900 beds set aside for Covid patients have now been taken up.