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Govt scales down public services amid Covid-19 spread

24 January 2022

By The SUN


From tomorrow, govt offices will reduce the number of people working in their premises

The worsening Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong has forced the government to scale down its frontline services through work-from-home schemes, and encourage the public to use alternative means in availing of its services.

From tomorrow, Jan 25, the Civil Service Bureau has asked bureaus and departments to implement special work arrangements to reduce the number of staff working at the same time in their offices, while maintaining basic public services.

“Such arrangements may include allowing some of their staff to take turns to work from home as far as possible,” the bureau said in a press statement. “As a result, there may be temporary reduction in provision of some of the public services offered by individual departments.”


The government also encouraged private companies to adopt similar measures aimed at reducing the flow of people in government buildings and offices to help contain the epidemic.

“Members of the public are encouraged to use alternative means, such as the post, drop-in boxes or online channels, to receive the services they need,” the bureau said.

If they do go to government offices, people should wear surgical masks at all times, and comply with the infection control and social distancing measures that are in place, including using the "LeaveHomeSafe" mobile app, temperature checks and crowd control arrangements.


“The government will closely monitor the epidemic situation and review the arrangements in due course,” the statement from the bureau added.

New work arrangements have in fact been implemented starting last week in government offices where infections were reported.

At the Housing Department, for example, a contract technical assistant tested preliminary positive on Jan. 22 for Covid-19. He resides in Yat Kwai House, Kwai Chung Estate and worked at the Housing Authority Headquarters in Ho Man Tin.


He last went to work on Jan 21 and did not have contact with members of the public while performing duties during the incubation period. He had worn a mask and followed health protocols while at work.

The Labour Department (LD), on the other hand, suspended services from today until further notice at all its offices on the 10th floor of the Cheung Sha Wan government offices after two of its staff there, including a security guard, tested positive for Covid-19.

The offices affected are the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board, the Labour Relations Division (Kowloon West Branch Office), the Employees' Compensation Division, the Occupational Medicine Unit (Kowloon), the Operations Division (Kowloon Region) of the Occupational Safety Service and the Labour Inspection Division.


A compulsory testing notice was issued on Jan 22 for all who had stayed at the said offices for at least two hours during the specified period.

Other government agencies have started announcing new work arrangements:

-                      the Inland Revenue Department announced that its office will be open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. It asked the public for understanding in case of longer waiting time due to the shortened office hours.

-                      The Companies Registry also adjusted its counter service hours for receiving documents delivered in hard copy and collection of certificates for company incorporation. The Public Search Centre will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Registry's services on registration of documents and public search services provided electronically through the e-Registry (, the Cyber Search Centre ( and the website of the Registry for Trust and Company Service Providers ( will not be affected.  
The rest of the agency will be open at 9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday at its Queensway and Kowloon Bay offices.

Other agencies are expected to announce their plans tomorrow. 

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