Hong Kong

16 June 2020

Legal professionals could get an exemption for the mandatory quarantine in Hong Kong in case of large scale commercial transactions

The Government of Hong Kong has announced the mechanism for legal professionals providing the necessary professional services in relation to large scale and important commercial transactions to apply for exemption from the mandatory quarantine agreement.

The Mandatory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving in Hong Kong Regulations has been extended until July 7, 2020. The Chief Secretary for Administration may designate any person or category of persons to be exempted from the mandatory quarantine arrangement if he is satisfied that the travel of the person or persons is necessary for purposes related to the provision of professional services in the interest of the economic development of Hong Kong. The Chief Secretary for Administration has recently exempted the following categories of persons from the quarantine obligation provisions:

 A qualified legal practitioner acting on behalf of a party to a major business transaction, whether that transaction is for listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange or notifiable transactions of listed companies under the applicable listing rules of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, who: 

1) Travel from the Mainland, Macao or Taiwan to Hong Kong to provide the necessary legal services requiring the physical presence on the spot in relation to the above transaction; or 

2) Return to Hong Kong from the Mainland, Macao or Taiwan after providing the necessary legal services requiring the physical presence on the spot in relation to the above transaction.

An exempted person should only travel and stay in the city where the services are provided in order to provide the intended services, as approved, and should take all precautionary measures to ensure personal hygiene and avoid unnecessary social contact. After arriving or returning to Hong Kong, the exempted person will be subject to medical surveillance arranged by the Health Department for a period of 14 days. The person must wear masks and check body temperature daily, and report any discomfort to the Health Department.

All travellers going to the Mainland and Macao will still be subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement imposed by the Mainland and Macao authorities. Hong Kong's Government is currently discussing with the Mainland and Macao authorities the mutual recognition of the results of COVID-19 tests carried out by recognized medical laboratories, with a view to exempting Hong Kong travellers to these locations from the quarantine requirement.

The new mechanism has been put in place to complement the mechanism implemented since May 19, which allows legal practitioners, arbitrators, and mediators who provide professional services required in arbitration, mediation, or litigation proceedings to apply for exemption from the mandatory quarantine requirement under the Regulations. Both mechanisms help to promote Hong Kong's economic development.

For more details: www.doj.gov.hk/eng/public/20200519_sjo1.html

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