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    ?中英社評/讓“安心出行”真正令人安心

    2021-11-15 04:26:54大公報
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      從今日開始,所有政府員工及市民必須使用“安心出行”程式,才能獲準進入政府大樓或辦公處所。這是收緊防疫措施的重要一步。然而,“安心出行”本身存在設計漏洞,與內地“健康碼”相比存在巨大差距,再加上一直以來未得到全面執行,影響了整體抗疫成效,因此政府一方面需確保新舉措得到不折不扣落實,同時應盡快升級程式的功能。

      “安心出行”去年十一月推出至今已一年,在提升公眾防疫意識、協助當局追查確診個案接觸人群方面,發揮了一定的積極作用。但無法否認的是,該程式存在較大的設計與功能漏洞,最關鍵在于三點:第一,并非強制,而是以“自愿參與、自主作記錄”的方式運作,無法覆蓋全部人口,更無法杜絕不掃、漏掃的情況;第二,缺乏必須的行程追蹤功能,一旦出現感染個案,無法有效追查到全部密切接觸人群;第三,未能做到“實名登記”,導致大量以“白機”或假程式蒙混的情況出現。

      而即便如此,這樣的“安心出行”也未能做到全面有效的執行。就在剛過去的周六,警方在灣仔等地執法,就查獲了多宗未使用“安心出行”程式或使用虛假程式的個案,如果算上過去一年來的總數字,情況驚人。另一方面,由于允許以“填紙仔”方式登記,在一些人刻意抹黑抵制情況下,大量虛假的登記信息嚴重影響了當局追查感染個案的努力。

      推出“安心出行”的本意,是要起到準確高效防控疫情的目的,但從一年來的效果來看,顯然無法滿足香港社會抗疫的需要。政府今日起收緊了政策、變相“強制”使用,做法值得肯定,但這僅限于政府大樓或設施,最容易引起傳染的公共場所或餐廳等,“安心出行”仍然是處于可有可無狀態。這種情況不改變,漏洞也就不能真正堵住。

      有效追蹤個案,是抗疫能否成功的關鍵,這無關政治,而是防疫的科學需要。且不說內地早已行之有效的“健康碼”,新加坡早就推出“合力追蹤”程式,印度、韓國等地亦有類似做法,這已足以說明問題。一些人對所謂私隱的不必要憂慮,不能以整個社會抗疫大局作為代價。

      早前兩地專家對接會議上,內地專家已指出了相關問題,并提出達至通關的幾項具體建議,落實有追蹤功能的港版“健康碼”或者是香港提出的“通關碼”,是重中之重。但時至今日,“通關碼”仍在研究當中,香港整體疫苗接種率仍未突破七成,而疫情又處于高危季節,整體形勢無法令人樂觀。

      香港已受疫情折磨近兩年時間,已無法繼續“耗”下去,需要有更果斷的舉措。推出真正能令人安心的“安心出行”,落實對接內地抗疫機制的“通關碼”,真正控制好疫情,這不僅關乎公眾對通關的強烈愿望,也是讓香港早日回復常態,過上正常生活的必由之路。

      2021-11-01

      Optimising the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app to ensure truly safe travels

      From today on, all government employees and visitors must use the LeaveHomeSafe mobile application for entry into government buildings and offices. This is an important step of tightening anti-epidemic measures. However the design of the LeaveHomeSafe app itself has loopholes, so there is a yawning gap compared with the Mainland's Health Code. Moreover, the LeaveHomeSafe scheme has never been fully implemented, which affects the overall anti-epidemic effectiveness. Hence the government must ensure the new measure be carried out to the letter, and at the same time upgrade the application's functions as soon as possible.

      One year has passed already since the launch of the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app last November. The scheme has certain positive effect on raising public anti-epidemic awareness and helping the authorities trace contacts by confirmed cases of infection. Yet undeniably, the application has quite big loopholes in its design and functions. The most crucial are in three respects. Firstly, the use of the application is not compulsory. Instead it operates in a manner of "voluntary participation and recording visits at users' discretion" and as such it fails to cover the whole population let alone completely prevent some people from not using it or omitting to use it. Secondly, it lacks a necessary function to keep track of the whereabouts of its users. As a result, there is no way to trace and identify all of its close contacts once a confirmed case is found. Thirdly, there is no enforcement for "real-name registration [of mobile phone users]" leaving a loophole for a number of individuals to deceive by using unregistered mobile phones or even fake applications.

      Even such a LeaveHomeSafe app with loopholes cannot be enforced with full effectiveness. Just on Saturday alone, the police uncovered several cases in Wan Chai and other places of not using the application as required or using fake ones. The situation could be quite shocking if all such cases in the past year are taken into account. On the other hand, as visitors to some places are allowed entry by filling in a paper-form, a lot of false registration information, a result by some people's deliberate smear and resistance, seriously jeopardises the authorities' effort to track confirmed cases.

      The original intention of introducing in the LeaveHomeSafe scheme is aimed at fighting the epidemic with accuracy and high efficiency. However, in view of its effect in the past year, it obviously cannot satisfy the anti-epidemic demand in Hong Kong society. The government tightens the policy from today to make the use of the application mandatory in a disguised form. Such a move is worthy of commendation, though the enforcement is just limited to government buildings and offices. In public places or restaurants which are the most vulnerable to infection the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app still remains dispensable. If this is not changed, the loophole is not really plugged.

      Effective contact tracing is key to the success in the fight against the epidemic. This has nothing to do with politics but a scientific requirement for the anti-epidemic battle. Not to mention the Mainland's Health Code that already proves effective, Singapore launched its TraceTogether application long ago and India, South Korea and other places also have adopted similar practices. This is a sufficient illustration of the issue. So-called [protection of] privacy as some people are unnecessarily concerned with must not be at the expense of whole society's anti-epidemic effort.

      In an earlier meeting on the anti-epidemic work of the Mainland and Hong Kong, specialists from the Mainland already pointed out relevant problems and made concrete proposals on how to meet requirements for reopening the border between the two places. The priority of priorities is to launch a Hong Kong-version health code or the "boundary-crossing code" as called in the SAR. Yet to this day, such a scheme is still being under study. The overall vaccination rate in Hong Kong has yet to exceed 70 per cent, and the epidemic is still in a high-risk season. The situation in general is anything but optimistic.

      Hong Kong has been suffering from the Covid-19 epidemic for near two years. It can no longer "hold on" and must take more resolute action.  Optimising the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app to ensure truly safe travels, launching the "boundary-crossing code" to match up with the Mainland in anti-epidemic mechanisms and effectively putting the epidemic situation under control – all this is not only in response to the public wish for border reopening but also the only way for Hong Kong to return to normalcy and live a normal life.

      01 November 2021

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