In response to the COVID-19 surge in the country, the government has decided to extend the restrictions on public gatherings and the use of masks. It also plans to increase the fines for non-compliance up to HKD 25,000.
The government declared that eight regulations under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599C to 599J), which were set to end this month, have been extended to September 30.
COVID-19 Laws Expected to Take Effect Until September, Higher Fines for Testing Violators
These laws require people entering China from other countries to wear masks in public. They also impose quarantine conditions and restrictions on gatherings. They will be extended for six months starting on Thursday (March 31), the Hong Kong Free Press reported.
The government’s latest extension of its travel restrictions and bans will allow it to continue enforcing some of its existing measures for another six months starting late April – including shortening hotel quarantine from 14 to 7 days for travellers who test negative.
Although authorities have allowed groups of up to four people to gather in public, they will still be able to impose restrictions on gatherings until the end of September.
The extension of the regulations was done to maintain the legal framework for the implementation of the measures related to the outbreak, a government spokesman said in a press release.
Starting Thursday, the maximum fine for failing to comply with a compulsory test order or directions will be increased to HK$25,000 from a fixed penalty of HK$10,000, and up to six months in prison.
This new penalty includes a maximum of six months in jail and HK$10,000. It’s also higher than the previous HK$5,000 fine and two months prison time.
Guardians of vulnerable people such as children or elderly citizens are also required to ensure that those in their care follow the directions and tests ordered by the authorities.
Since the pandemic started, there have been over a million Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong and over 7,000 deaths.