A woman scans a government's contact tracing QR code for the "LeaveHomeSafe" COVID-19 mobile app at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on July 12, 2022. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
Hong Kong’s contact tracing app LeaveHomeSafe was updated on Tuesday with a function that allows the users to store the vaccination records of up to eight of their companions including children aged 15 or below.
The update came days before the vaccine pass arrangement is being extended to children as young as five.
Starting Sept 30, children aged 5 to 11 have to comply with the vaccination requirements under the Vaccine Pass while entering any applicable premises of the Vaccine Pass. This means they have already received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or are within the three-month period after receiving the first dose.
From the same day onwards, the grace period for people aged 12 or above to receive the third dose after the second dose of the vaccine will be shortened from six months to five months under the Vaccine Pass, the government said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
The implementation of the Vaccine Pass aims to boost the vaccination rate, strengthen the immunity barrier against the epidemic and allow Hong Kong people to continue to resume normal life in an orderly manner.
Spokesman, HKSAR Govt
The addition of the new function to the LeaveHomeSafe is to facilitate the new Vaccine Pass arrangement.
After users update the app, they may store their own Vaccine Pass as well as those of a maximum of eight companions including children aged 15 or below, elderly aged 65 or above, and persons with disabilities.
This is to enable app users to store the Vaccine Pass of their companions who are exempted from using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile phone app to help them present the Vaccine Pass while entering the applicable premises together, said the government.
Parents may also use the "eHealth" mobile app and add their children as "My Family Member" to retrieve and present their Vaccine Pass as well as those of their children, according to the statement.
Alternatively, children or their family members may bring along and present a paper record printed with the QR code or present a photo of the code saved in a mobile phone for use as a Vaccine Pass, it added.
Pointing out that currently, the third dose vaccination rate in Hong Kong has reached 77 percent, a government spokesman said: “Nevertheless, the COVID-19 vaccination rates of the young and old, who are our targeted groups for protection, still have room for improvement.”
"The implementation of the Vaccine Pass aims to boost the vaccination rate, strengthen the immunity barrier against the epidemic and allow Hong Kong people to continue to resume normal life in an orderly manner.”
The government reminded persons-in-charge of premises that carrying or presenting the Vaccine Pass QR code by the aforesaid means are allowed under the Vaccine Pass arrangement.
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It has updated the QR Code Verification Scanner mobile app to version 4.4.2 to assist persons-in-charge of premises to check the Vaccine Pass of visitors according to the latest vaccination requirements under the Vaccine Pass.
They should download the latest version of the QR Code Verification Scanner as soon as possible, added the statement.
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