Hong Kong police have taken statements from two people for violating “self-quarantine” orders after they were put on a wanted list in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Health has been issuing “self-quarantine” orders to all people entering Hong Kong from the mainland, where the new SARS-like virus first broke out. They are told to stay at home, or in other accommodation, for 14 days.

Shenzhen Bay
Shenzhen Bay. File Photo: GovHK.

There have been 50 confirmed cases of the new “covid-19” virus in Hong Kong, including one death. Globally, there have been over 60,000 cases and over 1,360 deaths.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that police were unable to contact two “missing” people who should have been under self-quarantine.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam (centre). Photo: inmediahk.net.

However, the authorities said in a statement on Wednesday night that the police had contacted the pair and taken statements.

“The Government will consider… further [action],” it said.

‘Surprise video calls’

The government also said that it will enhance the surveillance of compulsory quarantine orders. It said, if people who were under quarantine – aside from those who were transferred to a quarantine centre – failed to share their real-time locations via their mobile phones at boundary control points, the government will immediately demand they wear electronic wristbands in order to monitor their whereabouts.

electronic wristband
A government electronic wristband.

The Department of Health will also call them, and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer will make surprise video calls to make sure they are present at designated locations. Extra manpower has been assigned to assist the department in implementing the measures, the government said.

“The Government has to reiterate the importance of self-discipline of people under quarantine. They must strictly comply with the quarantine orders,” it said.

People under quarantine leaving their accommodation without permission may commit a criminal offence, the government said. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of HK$25,000.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.