Hongkongers get to grips with new Covid app rule

Queues formed outside some government-run wet markets on Monday as people struggled to use the government’s LeaveHomeSafe Covid app for the first time.

Use of the app is now compulsory to enter government buildings, with only children, the elderly and disabled people exempt.

Some older people sought help from staff to enter Pei Ho Street Market in Sham Shui Po, including on how to download the government app.

A shopper surnamed Wong said he had to buy a smartphone just to get the app.

“It is too troublesome to fill in a form every time you enter a venue. I had no choice but to buy a new phone,” said the 60-year-old.

Some visitors to Sha Tin Public Library were not happy with the app requirement.

“It’s convenient for some of us, but not convenient for elderly people who don’t have a smartphone… To be honest, many jobless people don’t have a phone. What can they do?” asked a man surnamed Ng.

A woman who gave her name as Jenny said she had planned to visit the library on her day off, but was not willing to use the app to get in.

“Since they require me to scan the QR code, I decided not to enter,” she said.

A housewife surnamed Chan told RTHK she had been turned away from Lok Fu Post Office because she didn’t have a smartphone.

“It’s disruptive. I don’t understand why they have to do this. I just want to send some mail. It’s unfair to those of us who don’t have the app.”

Over at Immigration Tower, however, domestic helper Norma said she was more than happy to check in with the app before renewing her work visa.

“For Covid-19 nowadays, we have to be safe. So we have to track whenever we come and go,” she said.