Article written with Kimberly Ann Dasse
The current situation in Hong Kong and the recent increase in number of COVID cases, as led to a lot of parents questioning what would happen to their children if they were to be hospitalised.
Under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599), the government Health Officer (“HO”) has broad authority and discretion to issue isolation and quarantine orders. In Hong Kong, the general policy is to isolate those who are COVID+ and quarantine those who are under investigation for a COVID infection.
Given the nature of the pandemic, the critical period we now face in Hong Kong, and the powers given to the HO, it is very difficult if not impossible to plan ahead for the situation where both parents are tested positive to COVID, for children not to be separated from them.
This does not mean that there is nothing you can do in the unlikely event one of your children tests positive for COVID.
Although it may not be possible to impose not to be separated from your children in case you tested positive to COVID, it may be a good idea to appoint temporary legal guardians in a Deed, to care for your children, should both parents be hospitalised and unable to do so.
We cannot guaranty that it will be respected in all situation. Should parents being tested positive, and children being tested negative, they will very likely be forced to quarantine.
We need to try and envisage all the different of scenarios:
- children tested postive and having to isolate
- children tested negative having to quarantine at home
- the period after the quarantine
The person more likely to able to stay with your children would be your domestic helper since she lives with your family and would probably if tested negative be subjected to quarantine.
After the quarantine period, if the children are tested negative, the appointment of temporary legal guardians could be effective.
We cannot emphasis enough, the fact that the unprecedent time we are currently living in, make it difficult for us to advise you with any certainty on these aspects of the law. However we determined to assist you in any way we can in order to enable you to reduce these uncertainties.