HK to adopt Health Code system to open borders to Macau and Guangdong

The authorities of Hong Kong are preparing to adopt the Health Code system currently in use in Macau and the Guangdong province to reopen their borders to travelers from these two regions, South China Morning Post (SCMP) has reported.
According to the report, a system similar to those in use by Macau and Guangdong will soon be launched in Hong Kong to allow travel between the three regions, as part of a plan from Carrie Lam’s government to lift Covid-19 border restrictions. A prerequisite under the system will be a certification that any Hong Kong residents who wish to travel are virus-free.
“There will be a Hong Kong health code based on Covid-19 test results. The government is discussing with Guangdong and Macau authorities to ensure they recognize our test results and health codes for exemptions from quarantine requirements on their sides and vice-versa,” a source familiar with the development of the application in Hong Kong told the SCMP.
The Hong Kong media outlet also added that the process took longer than predicted as arrangements had been made to guarantee that there would be no transfer of personal data between different regional governments.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that agreement to relax cross-border quarantine measures between Hong Kong, Guangdong province and Macau could be reached within weeks.
Reports previously noted that the neighboring SAR’s administration was exploring the possibility of gradually relaxing cross-border quarantine restrictions, noting that mandatory quarantine rules for arrivals from mainland China and Macau is set to expire on June 7. There are no updates yet on whether this quarantine measures will again be extended.
Meanwhile, the idea behind the lifting of some restrictions on traveling to and from Hong Kong has been raised on several occasions as a significant step toward creating a so-called “travel bubble” within the Pearl River Delta.
Both Guangdong and Macau have been using this type of Health Code system since early May. From May 10, the system has been upgraded to allow the transfer of data regarding health status and travel history, allowing the restrictions imposed on non-resident workers and cross-border students from Zhuhai to be eased for them to come to Macau and return to their jobs.
The reciprocity of the system also allows local residents to travel to Guangdong without being subjected to a 14-day quarantine procedure as long as they have recently tested negative for Covid-19 through a nucleic acid swab test.
The test is valid for seven days, after which it must be repeated for the purposes of the health code.
The transfer of data between Macau and Guangdong also allows cross recognition of test certification from both regions. The same is expected to apply when Hong Kong joins the system.
Official announcements are expected from Hong Kong during early June.
During the press conferences of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center, the health authorities explained on several occasions that any lifting of restrictions under the Health Code system would only be possible among countries or regions where the Covid-19 outbreak is considered to be under control, and where those countries or regions share the same status in terms of the development of the disease and safety risks.

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