Govt working on ‘cross-border code’: pandemic adviser

A pandemic adviser to the government says the Innovation and Technology Bureau is developing an app specifically for Hongkongers to travel to the mainland, but officials across the border also want stricter Covid rules to be introduced in the SAR.

David Hui said the so-called “cross-border code” will likely be a pre-requisite for the mainland to allow a resumption of quarantine-free travel between the two sides.

The Chinese University respiratory medicine professor said the code could include a user’s Covid test results, proof of vaccination, travel record over the past three weeks and whether they had been to any high risk areas.

He added that the phone number linked to the app would have to have been registered using a real name.

Hui earlier attended a meeting with mainland officials on pandemic control.

He said during a television interview on Sunday that mainland health experts had stressed during that meeting that Hong Kong has to keep its track record of zero local cases and that the city cannot bring extra risk to the mainland after the border reopens.

Hui also quoted the mainland officials as saying that high-risk groups, such as medical staff and workers at the airport and quarantine hotels, should be be tested more frequently, and that patients who recover from Covid-19 should subsequently be quarantined for 14 days at a designated location.

“The National Health Commission will provide some written recommendations to the Hong Kong government, and they may come to Hong Kong for a site visit,” Hui said after appearing on the TVB programme.

“If we can closely follow the measures taken by the mainland, then very much likely the border can be reopened after four to five months, just like Macau.”

Hong Kong reported zero Covid-19 infections on Sunday, the first day with no new cases since September 16.