Hong Kong reduces COVID hotel quarantine to 3 days for arrivals
HONG KONG — Hong Kong will reduce the mandatory hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals to three days a week, the city leader said on Monday.
The southern Chinese city remains one of the few places in the world, along with mainland China, to require quarantine to guard against travelers spreading COVID-19 to locals. The policy taking effect on Friday will be Hong Kong’s shortest quarantine for arrivals since the pandemic began.
Hong Kong leader John Lee said arriving travelers must quarantine for three days at a designated hotel and then undergo four days of medical surveillance during which their movements will be restricted through the use of a security system. health code.
Lee said the new policy of only three days of quarantine was established after scientific evidence and data were analyzed to control risk factors.
“We also have to balance the risks against the economic activities and the social lives of (residents of) Hong Kong,” Lee said.
“(The data) gives us the indication that the risk factor for people who have completed the three-day quarantine in a designated hotel…is actually nothing more than the level of risk of transmission in society,” did he declare.
The changes to COVID-19 policies come despite an increase in daily infections, which city health officials say could double to 8,000 in the coming weeks.
During their week of quarantine and surveillance, travelers will also be required to test themselves regularly for COVID-19 and those who are infected will be required to remain in isolation.
Those who test negative can use public transport and enter shopping malls and markets, but they cannot enter bars and amusement parks or visit nursing homes, schools and some medical facilities. .
For most of the pandemic, Hong Kong has imposed some of the strictest COVID-19 entry restrictions in the world. At one point, Hong Kong required up to 21 days of mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers and a “circuit breaker” mechanism that would ban certain airlines’ flights to the city if they imported too many COVID-19 cases. 19.
These measures have devastated the city’s tourist industry and disrupted business travel in a city known as an international financial and business center.
Sally Wong, CEO of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, welcomed the reduced quarantine, describing it as a “great step forward”.
She said the quarantine in Hong Kong should be completely lifted for the city to regain its competitiveness.
“But what can move the dial is… how we can go from three days to zero,” Wong said. “Many conferences, meetings etc. are planned months in advance and if the government can (shed) some light on the next step, that would be extremely helpful.”
Since the start of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of residents have left Hong Kong. Many companies have also moved to countries like Singapore where quarantine-free travel has resumed.