The Hong Kong Government yesterday (22 May) announced it would be extending possible exemption from compulsory quarantine requirements for enterprises with an operating base relating to logistics, port and/or shipping business in the Mainland. Such businesses must apply for exemption status from the Transport and Housing Bureau. The Bureau has now started accepting applications.
The move follows a similar mechanism triggered on 19 May by the Department of Justice in the case of arbitrators or mediators providing necessary professional services across the border and/or in Macau or Taiwan.
At present, people travelling to the Mainland would be subject to the 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement imposed by the Mainland authorities. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is discussing with the relevant authorities in the Mainland on mutual recognition of COVID-19 testing results conducted by recognised medical laboratories, with a view to exempting the quarantine requirement for Hong Kong travellers to these places. Details of the arrangement will be announced when available.
The Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 2020 commenced on April 29 this year, amending the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation. The expiry date of the amended Regulation has been extended to June 7 this year.
In accordance with the amended Regulation, the Chief Secretary for Administration may designate any person or category of persons for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement if he is satisfied that the person’s or persons’ travelling is necessary for purposes relating to business activities in the interest of Hong Kong’s economic development.
In accordance with the above-mentioned provision, the Chief Secretary for Administration has exempted the following category of persons in respect of “Logistics, Port and/or Shipping Business Activities in the Mainland” from the compulsory quarantine arrangement with effect from May 19 this year:
(a) either the owner of an enterprise with a valid business registration certificate issued under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) and having an operating base relating to logistics, port and/or shipping business in the Mainland, and up to one person employed and so authorised by the enterprise; or
(b) up to two persons employed and so authorised by such an enterprise as described in (a).
An exempted person must only travel for the purpose of the intended logistics, port and/or shipping-related business activities as approved and stay in the city/area where his/her operating base is located. That person must take every precautionary measure to ensure personal hygiene and avoid unnecessary social contact. After returning to Hong Kong, the person will be subject to medical surveillance arranged by the Department of Health for a period of 14 days. The person will be required to wear masks and check body temperature daily, and report to the Department of Health on any discomfort.
Details of the exemption arrangement and the application form are in Annex 1 and Annex 2 respectively. The application form can be downloaded from the website of the Transport and Housing Bureau.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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