What’s next in the post-LeaveHomeSafe era?

December 14, 2022 09:27
Photo: RTHK

Delete the LeaveHomeSafe app that bothers you for two years because it is no longer a mandatory requirement.

Well, we still need to show vaccine pass when entering public venue but otherwise we can say goodbye to the tracking app.

Spare a thought for the guests of Witman Hung’s party, many of those politicians and civil servants were penalized for not scanning the code and were put in Penny Bay for as many as three weeks in January.

The fallen politician and Qianhai ambassador could probably celebrate his upcoming birthday without any trouble.

Our thoughts also go to Yutaka Take, the 53-year-old legendary jockey who was said to buy his first mobile phone for joining the Hong Kong International Race last Sunday. Imagine if the race had been postponed to just a week after.

Likewise, Hong Kong snooker Marco Fu could save the trouble of coaching his buddies such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, the current world snooker champion on how to get the blue code in the tracking app.

The good news from yesterday’s easing measures is that overseas visitors can eat in public venue starting today.

Goodbye to this inhumane practice as well. How would visitors come to Hong Kong if they could not eat outside in the first three days.

Despite the welcoming move, overseas tourists still need to take PCR tests at the airport and on the second day after arrival on top of a daily rapid antigen test (RAT) for the next five days.

As a returning resident of a recent short trip in Asia, I still need to produce one more RAT test result. Sadly, this is not a common Asian practice.

The complicated travel restriction discourages tourists from visiting Hong Kong over Christmas with some estimating there would be a 15 per cent boost to the traditional peak season after the relaxation. The business for Christmas this year is about 70 per cent of the pre-pandemic level.

So what’s next after the troublesome app is gone?

The all-time mask wearing in public is still in place. There are still headcount restrictions for outdoor function. And above all, the cross-border gate is still closed although there are talks that some selected groups could travel this month with hopes that people could reunite with their families without quarantine for the first time in three years.

Let’s not forget there are unvaccinated people who cannot dine or watch movies in public.

The tracking app is a major first step. We still hope for more to come. Penny Bay quarantine, compulsory testing, and all these nuisances are milestones we would watch for as normalcy resumes.

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EJ Insight writer