Emergency rule enacted

February 24, 2022

The regulation made pursuant to the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to provide the legal basis for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Government to implement the anti-epidemic measures supported by the central government has come into operation.


The measures to be implemented with the support of the central government include the construction of hospitals and isolation facilities, etc.


In response to the current public health emergency situation, the Chief Executive in Council earlier approved that the Emergency (Exemption from Statutory Requirements) (COVID-19) Regulation is to be made. The regulation became operational after it was gazetted today.


Hong Kong is facing a very dire epidemic situation which continues to deteriorate rapidly. It is foreseeable the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to escalate exponentially and go beyond the epidemic control capacity of the Hong Kong SAR Government.


The city's healthcare system, manpower, anti-epidemic facilities and resources, etc. will soon be insufficient to handle the huge number of newly confirmed cases detected every day. Such situation has constituted an occasion of emergency and public danger as defined under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance.


The regulation allows the Hong Kong SAR Government to exempt certain persons or projects from all relevant statutory requirements in respect of licensing, registration and application, etc., such that it may draw on Mainland's support and resources in a flexible and prompt manner to undertake key anti-epidemic projects at full speed when necessary, so as to increase Hong Kong's epidemic control capacity for containing the fifth wave within a short period of time.


It empowers the Chief Secretary to, for preventing, protecting against, delaying or otherwise controlling the incidence or transmission of the specified disease or treating patients with the specified disease, having regard to the factors set out in the regulation, grant an exemption in writing to persons or projects such that they do not have to comply with certain requirements under enactments, including a requirement for licence, authority, approval, exemption, permit, registration, standard or specification.


The Emergency (Exemption from Statutory Requirements) (COVID-19) Regulation will provide a legal framework for the central government to render the necessary emergent support to Hong Kong in a more effective and expeditious manner.


The Hong Kong SAR Government will leverage support of the central government and assume the main responsibility to curb the epidemic. With the staunch support of the Central People's Government, Hong Kong will surely overcome the epidemic as long as the public in general acts in concert.

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