Hong Kong’s upcoming health code system is “very specific” and will only affect a small number of people, Chief Executive John Lee said on Tuesday when talking about the government’s latest anti-epidemic control measures.

The China-style system – which will restrict the movement of residents depending upon their Covid-19 status – will involve a “red” and “yellow” code via the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app, he said.

Chief Executive John Lee meeting the press on July 12, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“The red code is intended to identify people who have been infected. And they should not be going around to spread the virus. And the second group is also very small and well defined, which are the people who are now being kept in a quarantine hotel. We introduced this yellow code for them so that when we design measures to allow them to have some limited activities… business can continue in a much [more] normal way,” Lee said.

Henan protesters

When asked by NowTV and HKFP about protesters being reportedly grounded in Henan, China, under the health code, Lee said the government will tackle “misinformation.”

“We will make sure that we’ll well-explain the scope and the method so that people understand why we do it, what benefits they gain, and what are the concerns they do not have to really bother, because there may be some misinformation, which we need to address very quickly so that everybody knows what we are doing.”

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Lee said that measures will only be used against the epidemic: “If anyone tries to stir trouble on this aspect, I can tell you that this is not the truth, and the public should not believe it.”

The chief executive said it was important to strike a balance between controlling the epidemic and allowing business and people’s daily life to go about normally, and the government will look at the data before making any decisions.

On consulting expert opinion in drafting the city’s anti-epidemic policies, Lee said he will appointment a new panel of government experts soon. He added that he met with experts twice before taking office.

Hong Kong has recorded 1,273,917 Covid-19 infections and 9,419 deaths since the pandemic began.

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Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.