Strengthening Contact Tracing

The Government has made legislative amendments to the Prevention and Control of Disease (Disclosure of Information) Regulation (Cap. 599D) to empower authorised officers to require any person to provide or disclose information that is relevant to identification and tracing of persons who may be at risk of contracting the disease, such as travel history, places they have visited or people they have come into contact with, etc. in relation to the prevention and control of the spread of diseases. A person commits a criminal offence if he / she fails to comply with the requirement to provide information, or gives to an authorised officer any false or misleading information. The maximum penalty for such offence is a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for six months.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP), through its hotlines (2125 1111/2125 1122), allows members of the public to verify the identity of authorised officers if necessary.

The CHP has all along spared no efforts in following up on the epidemiological investigations of confirmed cases and tracing of their close contacts. Nevertheless, in the face of a surge in the number of confirmed cases, the healthcare manpower of the CHP cannot cope with the workload of relevant work. In order to strengthen the contact tracing work, it is necessary for the Government to empower the Director of Health to appoint public officers to assist in conducting contact tracing work.

The personal data obtained for COVID-19 contact tracing will only be used by the Department of Health or relevant department(s) for epidemic prevention purposes, and the arrangements for handling the personal data would be in strict compliance with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486).