With Hong Kong's fourth Covid-19 resulting in extended quarantines,
cancelled flights and speculations rife that restrictions will stretch
into the end of February — the city hopes new measures will curb the
virus, including its LeaveHomeSafe mobile app, launched in November.
Secretary of Innovation & Technology, Alfred Sit, noted in a
press conference that more than 200,000 people have downloaded the app
since 16 November, while more than 20,000 venues and premises have
registered. “We thank all trades and industries for their support to
join the scheme and display the QR code at their premises”, said Sit.
Despite ongoing criticism and debate around privacy concerns of the
app, the government has confirmed in a press statement that it’s a
voluntary scheme that “upholds the principle of protecting personal data
privacy, and user registration is not required”.
Meanwhile, even as events continue to be on hold indefinitely, venue
spaces are still hopeful, preparing health and safety precautions to
welcome visitors back.
Event and exhibition spaces across Hong Kong have implemented
stringent health and safety measures throughout the months in an attempt
to reduce the risk of infection within large-scale groups.
For instance, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)
stepped up hygiene protocols in venue cleaning, customer care and
F&B services, stricter access control since the outbreak and of
course, use of the LeaveHomeSafe app.
“To provide event organisers and participants additional peace of
mind, LeaveHomeSafe QR codes have been posted in various locations in
the HKCEC, including main entrances, major venues as well as
restaurants, so that app users can keep detail record of their visits to
the centre and receive timely notifications of potential exposure”, a
HKCEC spokesperson said.
“LeaveHomeSafe” v.s “TraceTogether”
Although the concept is similar, Singapore’s counterpart
TraceTogether differs in that the app is powered by Bluetooth, while
LeaveHomeSafe, is tracked by QR-code check-ins at venues. Both apps’
main goal is to quickly identify people who may have come in close
contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, based on the
tracking of peoples’ locations.
There have been pilot trade shows in Singapore testing the new
protocols at a larger scale, which include mandatory use of the
TraceTogether app for visitors.
“We are confident that with our stringent preventive measures,
coupled with the LeaveHomeSafe App, organisers and participants will be
encouraged to visit the HKCEC."