HK: Social distancing rules, quarantine policy extended to Sept 30
The government on Tuesday (Feb. 23) gazetted amendments of various regulations under the Prevention & Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap 599) including relaxing the restriction on the number of people allowed in group gatherings in public places from two to four and extending the expiry dates of the relevant regulations to September 30, 2021.
The Food & Health Bureau said taking into account that the local COVID-19 epidemic has continued to subside, it announced earlier to continue to relax social distancing measures in a gradual and orderly manner.
Unless exempted, group gatherings of more than four persons in public places will be prohibited during the eight-day period from February 24, 2021, to March 3, 2021. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$25,000 and imprisonment for six months. Persons who participate in a prohibited group gathering may discharge liability for the offense by paying a fixed penalty of HK$5,000.
In view of the need to continue implementing various infection control measures subject to the epidemic situation in the near future, there is a need to extend the expiry dates of various regulations under Cap.599.
The government announced to extend the expiry dates for the below regulations from March 31, 2021, for six months to September 30, 2021:
(1) Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C)
(2) Prevention and Control of Disease (Disclosure of Information) Regulation (Cap. 599D)
(3) Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E)
(4) Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F)
(5) Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G)
(6) Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travelers) Regulation (Cap. 599H)
(7) Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I)
The bureau pointed out that extending the expiry dates of the relevant regulations does not imply that the restrictions currently imposed will be maintained until the corresponding expiry dates.
Rather, the relevant statutory framework has provisions in place to allow the flexibility that the government may tighten or relax or even suspend specific requirements and conditions subject to developments of the epidemic situation, it added.