Authorities in Hong Kong have implemented new measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including expanding quarantine requirements to travelers from a greater number of areas.

Key Points:

  • Beginning March 14, the Department of Health will issue quarantine orders for anyone who in the past 14 days has been in any part of Italy or certain regions in France (Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Grand Est), Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), Japan (Hokkaido) and Spain (La Rioja, Madrid and Pais Vasco). The quarantine measures will apply to both Hong Kong residents and non-residents.
  • Quarantine measures remain in place for travelers who have been in Iran, Mainland China or South Korea in the past 14 days.
  • As of March 8, all inbound airline passengers must complete a health declaration form either electronically or manually.
  • The Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has expanded the Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme to all private clinics and hospitals so as to identify cases of COVID-19 and thereby lessen the risk of community transmission. The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch under the CHP will provide free COVID-19 testing for respiratory samples private doctors submit. Authorities will admit anyone who tests positive to a public hospital for isolation and care.
  • Authorities have issued Red Outbound Travel Alerts for Iran, Italy, South Korea and the regions of France, Germany, Japan and Spain that are listed above.
  • Authorities are advising against non-essential outside of Hong Kong and have urged those who must travel to take precautionary measures, including avoiding close contact with people who have a fever or respiratory symptoms and avoiding crowded places.

Analysis & Comments: The changes represent an escalation of Hong Kong’s response to the COVID-19 virus. Employers should anticipate additional travel restrictions and quarantine measures and must be prepared to be flexible with employee schedules and start dates for affected employees. The response to the COVID-19 virus in Hong Kong continues to evolve, and Deloitte will alert clients to additional changes or restrictions as information becomes available.

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