HK scraps 3-day Covid19 observation period for arrivals

HONG KONG, 13 Dec 2022:

Hong Kong today announced the withdrawal of the mandatory three-day observation period for those arriving from abroad, marking another step towards ending all travel restrictions linked to the Covid19 pandemic.

Since September, all travellers arriving in the semi-autonomous region had been banned from accessing public places – such as restaurants, gums or beauty salons – for the first three days of their stay.

Moreover, Hong Kong residents are no longer required to scan a QR code to enter public places in order to record their visit – although it would still be necessary to show a vaccination proof to enter some establishments.

Hong Kong chief executive John Lee said in a press conference to day the decision was “based on data and risks,” insisting the withdrawal of these measures “will not increase the risk of local outbreaks.”

Despite the isolation period being withdrawn, passengers arriving in the former British colony are still required to carry out a PCR test on arrival at the airport and another after three days of stay, apart from undergoing daily antigen tests for five days.

Those who test positive have to remain in quarantine for at least five days, according to current norms of the city.

Lee said the government had been actively negotiating with mainland China authorities for reopening their border with Hong Kong, which has remained shut for over two years.

“Our goal is to allow normal cross-border travel as soon as possible,” the leader said.

Hong Kong had removed the requirement of mandatory hotel quarantine in September, after the territory following a zero-tolerance policy against Covid19, in line with the mainland.

The strict restrictions resulted in Singapore overtaking Hong Kong as Asia’s main financial hub and rising to the third place in the world, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.

Hong Kong, with a population of 7.4 million, has registered a total of 10,959 Covid deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.