Covid-19: Hong Kong scraps mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers

Arriving passengers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding



By AP

Published: Fri 23 Sep 2022, 12:45 PM

Starting Monday (September 26), Hong Kong would no longer require incoming travellers to quarantine in designated hotels, it was announced on Friday.

The decision comes as the city seeks to open up globally after nearly two years.

Incoming travellers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane to Hong Kong, the city's chief executive John Lee said Friday at a news conference. Instead, they will need to present a negative COVID-19 result from a rapid antigen test conducted within 24 hours before boarding the flight.

“While we can control the trend of the epidemic, we must allow the maximum room to allow connectivity with the world, so that we can have economic momentum and to reduce inconvenience to arriving travellers,” said Lee, who also said that authorities will not roll back the measures announced Friday.

He said that there must be a “balance between risks and economic growth."

From Monday, travellers into Hong Kong will have to undergo three days of home monitoring. If they test negative for Covid-19 after three days, they will be allowed into venues such as restaurants and bars.

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For nearly two years, Hong Kong required overseas arrivals in the city to serve a period of mandatory quarantine in designated hotels. At one point, the city had among the world’s longest quarantine periods at 21 days of mandatory isolation.

The easing of measures comes as Hong Kong prepares to hold several high-profile events, including the Rugby Sevens tournament in November and an international banking summit.

Neighboring Taiwan is expected to do the same next month. This leaves mainland China as one of the only places in the world that will still require travellers to quarantine on arrival.

Hong Kong has for most of the pandemic aligned with China’s “zero-Covid” strategy.

Over the past 2 1/2 years, Hong Kong authorities have imposed strict social distancing measures and locked down residential buildings with confirmed Covid-19 infections to mass-test residents.


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