The Hong Kong Government has now introduced the lowest quarantine entry requirements since the start of the pandemic, implementing a 3-night mandatory hotel quarantine for all arrivals, followed by a 4-day “medical surveillance” period.
For individuals who have completed the 3 nights of hotel quarantine in Hong Kong, under the new 3+4 mechanism, they will be required to undergo medical surveillance from day 4 to day 7. During this period of medical surveillance, individuals will need to conduct daily rapid antigen tests and will be required to undergo nucleic acid tests at a community testing centre or a mobile specimen collection station on day 4 and 6. They will also be issued with an “Amber Code” on their Vaccine Pass QR code (which is part of a new function on Hong Kong’s LeaveHomeSafe app (an app that residents and visitors generally need to have on their phones to access many public places in Hong Kong)).
Persons identified under the “Amber Code” category are not allowed to be involved in mask-off or group gathering activities. They are therefore not allowed to enter any catering premises or “scheduled premises” (under this regulation) in the capacity of a customer or visitor. However, this restriction is not applicable to staff members of such premises (subject to any additional rules or requirements that may be imposed by employers). For persons conducting work at these premises, they are required to strictly observe anti-epidemic measures, which include mask-wearing. As for premises that are subject to “passive checking” of the Vaccine Pass (which include shopping malls, public transport, supermarkets etc.), individuals with an Amber Code may enter these places, e.g. they may take public transport to go to work and enter shopping malls or supermarkets to obtain daily necessities.
Therefore, in short, employers may allow/request their employees to attend the workplace following the 3-night mandatory hotel quarantine period and during the period of medical surveillance (subject to the usual anti-epidemic measures).
This change in policy on quarantine rules is welcome news for Hong Kong employers and employees alike as it opens the door to more frequent business and personal travel and allows a faster return to the office and business activities.
If your business is struggling to understand the new “3+4 mechanism” or the fact that “day 1” is now classed as “day 0”, or you have any other queries regarding the new quarantine rules, please feel free to contact the Lewis Silkin Hong Kong office for assistance.