Majority back yellow code for close contacts

Public support for extending the use of yellow LeaveHomeSafe codes to cover close contacts of Covid patients has come in at more than 60 percent in a survey, with the feeling being that such people should be banned from entering high-risk premises.

The survey of 548 people by New Youth Forum also showed that 57 percent of respondents support the launch of "red-yellow codes" and compulsory real-name registration in the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app.

Nearly 70 percent agreed that hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals needs to be cut from seven days to four or five, with two or three days of home isolation afterward.

The group said if authorities extend the use of yellow codes to close contacts, they must issue a clear and rational definition of close contacts so that the arrangement does not disturb Hongkongers' daily lives.

More than 60 percent support the daily rapid test requirement for students and teaching staff, residential estate lockdowns and sending Covid patients to isolation facilities.

New Youth Forum's adviser Chan Wai-keung said if Hong Kong follows Singapore's practice of relaxing border control measures, it will not be difficult to resume quarantine-free travel with overseas countries.

Chan also said the anti-Covid measures in Hong Kong are different from those of the mainland and closer to that of western countries. Therefore, resuming quarantine-free travel with the mainland is expected to be more difficult.

The border could be reopened if Hong Kong sees a drop in cases and tightens social distancing measures.

The group's convener, Tang Wing-chun, suggested the government introduce a mainland expert group on pandemic prevention to speed up the resumption of quarantine-free travel.

Infectious disease specialist Joseph Tsang Kay-yan said he supports reducing the quarantine period for overseas arrivals and also called for an increase in the frequency of PCR tests for arrivals and for testing service providers to speed up the process.