HONG KONG, 8 Aug 2022:
Hong Kong will shorten to three days the mandatory quarantine international travellers arriving in the city must undergo, authorities announced today.
This measure, which will start Friday, will be the second reduction this year, after going from two weeks of quarantine to just one in March.
After three days of quarantine, arrivals must continue with a period of “self-observation” for another four days – during which they will be prohibited from entering premises such as restaurants and bars.
“We need to balance people’s livelihoods and Hong Kong’s competitiveness to give the community maximum economic momentum and vitality,” Hong Kong chief executive John Lee said in a news conference.
Lee stressed the “3+4” hotel quarantine policy is an “important part” of the Hong Kong government’s fight against the pandemic.
Quarantined people will be issued a red code on the relevant health monitoring app, which will turn yellow at the end of the three-day lockdown, giving them the option of moving around the city without entering crowded places.
If commuters test negative daily through rapid tests for the next four days, they will be able to take public transport, go to work or go to shopping malls.
Scientific data has shown PCR tests on the third day of quarantine for travellers can confirm most infections, reducing the risk of transmission to less than 1% – similar to the community rate.
The territory follows a zero tolerance policy against the coronavirus similar to that in force in mainland China and includes the isolation of all those infected in specialised facilities or in homes.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1.39 million Covid-19 cases and 9,540 deaths among Hong Kong’s population of about 7.4 million people.
Separately, around 80,000 tourists remain stranded in the Sanya – a tourist town in southern Chinese island of Hainan – as Covid-19 lockdown entered its third day today in the region over a fresh outbreak of the disease.
The Hainan authorities implemented the restrictions on after a sharp increase in infections in a single day from 24 confirmed cases to 127 on Friday.
Since the start of the month – the peak tourist season in Sanya – there have been 983 cases detected, resulting in the cancellation of all tickets on flights and trains from the city.
Tourists who want to leave the area will have to test negative in five PCR tests within seven days, according to authorities.
The city’s airport witnessed hundreds of people trying to unsuccessfully get flights back home, many of them worried about their children’s schools reopening while several others about the excessive cost of having to stay longer than planned.
Although several hotels have brought down their prices on the recommendation of the authorities during the lockdown, local media carried reports of numerous tourists outraged over having to pay as much as four times higher for lodging.
China maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy against the coronavirus with lockdowns, mass testing, and almost-total border closures.