Thanks in part to Hong Kong’s experience with SARS in 2003, the emergence of COVID-19 in early 2020 was quickly met with nearly universal mask-wearing in the city.
Even in hot and humid weather, and even when it comes to toddlers and small children, mask-wearing is not considered optional; failure to comply will be considered rude and inconsiderate at best, and a finable offense at worst.
Additional norms around COVID prevention in Hong Kong include:
- Closing the toilet lid before flushing
- Refilling U-pipes in apartment bathrooms by pouring half a liter of water into the drain outlets every week
- Disposing of used masks in specially marked bins
- The maintenance of daily temperature logs by office workers and schoolchildren
- Using contactless payments like Octopus cards or “payWave” cards instead of cash
- Providing contact details (often via an online form) when dining at restaurants or visiting offices for meetings
- Temperature checks before entering stores, office buildings, gyms, restaurants, etc.
- Using the hand sanitizing stations provided in many locations and particularly before entering office buildings, stores, restaurants, etc.
Centre for Health Protection
After the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the government set up the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), to monitor the spread of infectious diseases in Hong Kong, emergency management and preparedness as well as mobilization of emergency services in response to health crises. The department engages in health-related information sharing among healthcare providers, those in charge of large institutions such as schools and other businesses, and members of the general public. It also recommends protocols and preventive measures against the spread of infectious disease, including COVID-19 and all types of influenza.
Up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus, including a dashboard tracker of new cases, can be found on the CHP’s dedicated coronavirus website.
For information about Hong Kong’s mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers, see Plan > After Arriving > Mandatory Quarantine.
Consult a doctor on the recommended vaccinations to get before or after arriving in Hong Kong.
Hepatitis A and typhoid can be contracted through contaminated food or water in Hong Kong, regardless of where you are staying. Adventurous eaters in particular should consider getting vaccinated against these two diseases before coming here.
Those travelling outside of Hong Kong can refer to the Department of Health’s Travel Health Service website for travel-related health advice and vaccine information.
The Hong Kong government offers free flu shots to members of special groups, including pregnant women, healthcare workers, persons aged 50 years and above, and children between 6 months and 12 years of age.
The bad news is that there are lots of mosquitos and biting midges in Hong Kong, and just like humans, they like to hang out in the shade on a hot Hong Kong afternoon.
The good news is that two of the most dreaded species of mosquito — the Aedes aegypti mosquito, responsible for most cases of worrisome diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever and zika virus, and the Anopheles mosquito, responsible for malaria — are not found in Hong Kong.
The Aedes albopictus mosquito, which can spread dengue fever, is found in Hong Kong. However, the disease is not considered endemic to Hong Kong; most cases come from overseas travelers. When local cases of dengue do pop up, they are usually met by swift government action to control mosquito populations in country parks and other areas where the insects breed.
To protect against mosquito bites, wear loose, light-colored clothing and apply DEET-containing insect repellant to exposed skin.