Health code app won’t be compulsory, says Carrie Lam

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Sunday said a health code app being designed for quarantine-free travel to the mainland won’t be compulsory for all Hong Kong residents, and only those who wish to go there will need to use it.

Hong Kong officials have been discussing with their counterparts on the mainland on what the SAR needs to do to allow people to travel across the border without undergoing quarantine.

Speaking on a TV programme, Lam said local health officials will soon submit a report in response to the feedback from mainland health experts on the matter.

She said she had not heard from the mainland side if discussions would be affected after an airport worker here recently tested positive for Covid-19. She also said officials plan to ask people who have a higher exposure risk to get tested more regularly to prevent an outbreak in the community.

When asked if all Hong Kong people will be required to use the health code app, Lam said it would be voluntary, noting the differences in the Hong Kong and mainland systems.

“Our system can only apply to those who wish to cross the border to use the app, and it must be voluntary, because we don’t have a system that involves registering names and tracking function,” she said.

“Hong Kong people probably won’t accept it either,” Lam added, pointing out that travellers will have to give their names and addresses and record their travel history to the app.

On recent visits by officials from Beijing’s liaison office to the community, Lam said it’s only natural that representatives from the central government showed care to the people.

She played down concerns about the role of the liaison office, saying at the end of the day it’s the SAR government that’s responsible for solving the problems in society.