HK to get health code system for cross-border travels

A Hong Kong health code system separate from that of mainland China will be soon launched to certify residents virus-free when they visit Macau and Guangdong as part of a plan to lift COVID-19 border restrictions, it was reported on Monday.

The latest arrangements contain no transfer of any personal data among governments, a source familiar with the development told the South China Morning Post newspaper.

To create a “travel bubble” that enables easier movement of people among regions where the COVID-19 situation is considered under control, authorities of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong began discussing health screening and approval procedures two months ago, said the newspaper report.

The Hong Kong government is expected to announce a detailed plan on this in early June.

Macau and the neighbouring mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai have recognised each other’s health code systems since May 10, to check the coronavirus infection-status of those crossing the borders.

Their systems generate coloured QR codes to indicate a person’s level of risks based on his state of health, possible contact with COVID-19 patients and travel history.

A green code means the person does not have coronavirus symptoms, while red indicates infection, suspected infection or close contact with a confirmed case.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the source said: “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 recognise our test results and health codes for exemptions from quarantine requirements on their sides and vice versa.

“There will not be any transfer of personal data among governments.”