Hong Kong’s health minister, Lu Zhong Mao, has defended the government’s plan to introduce real-name registration for contact-tracing app LeaveHomeSafe, saying it was essential to protect the uninfected.
He also stressed that the new requirement – which he said on Sunday is being studied by authorities – is only aimed at identifying those who have contracted Covid-19, not tracing them.
talking on RTHK On Monday, Lu said there are currently no policies in place to ensure those infected with the Covid-19 virus do not go to high-risk areas, including restaurants, hospitals and care homes.
Every day we have 2,000 to 3,000 infected people [Covid-19]. He said that a large proportion are subject to isolation at home.
Hence, Lu said it was necessary to introduce a real-name system – which will come with a traffic light-style health code similar to that of the mainland – to ensure that infected individuals are prevented from entering high-risk places.
To do this, the chief of health said that those who got a positive result of the PCR test will receive a red code, which means that they cannot go to such places.
He also sought to dispel rumors that the government would distribute red tokens for no reason.
“[The real-name system] It is to identify and not track people at risk to ensure they are not exposing other residents and individuals at risk.”
Lu added it was also necessary due to earlier calls for a reduction in the seven-day hotel quarantine for incoming travelers.
He said that if future measures allow these individuals to return to their homes early for quarantine and self-monitoring, the amber symbol will be useful to prevent them from entering high-risk areas because these people are also at risk of contracting the virus.
Lu added that the authorities plan to implement the new scheme as soon as possible, pending the work of the Office of Innovation and Technology in amending the application.
Concerns about surveillance and privacy have been raised over mainland-style health law, with some concerned that requiring people to use their real names would give the government the ability to track and control their movements.