Hong Kong ends mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s leader announced the city would no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine at designated hotels as it seeks to remain competitive and open up globally after nearly two years.

Incoming travelers also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a plane bound for Hong Kong, the city’s chief executive John Lee said at a news conference on Friday. Instead, they must provide a negative COVID-19 result from a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of the flight.

The measures will come into effect on Monday.

“Although we cannot control the trend of the epidemic, we must leave the greatest possible space to allow a connection with the world so that we can have it economic dynamics and to reduce inconvenience to arriving travelers,” said Lee, who also said authorities will not reverse the measures announced on Friday.

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

From Monday, travelers to Hong Kong will have to undergo three days of home surveillance. If they test negative for COVID-19 after three days, they are allowed to enter venues such as restaurants and bars. They will also have to undergo multiple mandatory coronavirus tests on their fourth, sixth and seventh days in Hong Kong.

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

The easing of measures comes as Hong Kong prepares to host several high-profile events, including November’s rugby sevens tournament and an international banking summit.

Neighbor Taiwan is expected to do the same next month. This makes mainland China one of the few places in the world where travelers are still required to quarantine upon arrival.

Hong Kong has braced itself for most of the pandemic China’s “zero COVID” strategy.

For the past 2 1/2 years, Hong Kong authorities have imposed strict social distancing measures and sealed off residential buildings with confirmed COVID-19 infections Mass Test Dwellers.

As the rest of the world reopened borders, companies urged Hong Kong authorities to develop a pandemic exit strategy to remain competitive amid a brain drain Tens of thousands of residents left the city.

Several companies also moved their offices to countries like Singapore to break free from the city’s restrictions.

Singapore had eased travel restrictions and eased coronavirus restrictions months before Hong Kong, sparking concerns that Hong Kong could become less competitive as an international financial center and regional business hub.

Lee said authorities would continue to monitor the epidemic situation in Hong Kong to see if further easing is possible, adding he was “optimistic” the easing of requirements would be welcomed by those looking to enter Hong Kong.

“If there are positive developments as we progress … there will be more room for us to take additional action so that we have more exercise, more activities and more space for others (activities),” he said.

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https://www.local10.com/health/2022/09/23/hong-kong-to-end-mandatory-hotel-quarantine-for-travelers/ Hong Kong ends mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers

Sarah Y. Kim

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