Hong Kong shortens Covid quarantine to three days in hotel for incoming travelers


Hong Kong will reduce the Covid-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals from seven to three days, taking another step in gradually lifting the strict pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub.

The measures will take effect from Friday, City Chairman John Lee said at a news conference on Monday.

Arrivals will have to self-monitor for a further four days, during which they will be barred from entering establishments such as restaurants and bars.

“We must strike a balance between people’s livelihood and Hong Kong’s competitiveness to bring maximum dynamism and economic vitality to the community,” Lee said.

Quarantined people get a red code on a government-mandated app. This changes to a yellow code once they exit quarantine, meaning they are not allowed into crowded premises.

The quarantine used to last three weeks. Currently, all arrivals must spend at least a week in hotel quarantine and complete frequent testing orders, provide baby fecal samples, and fill out multiple forms.

Only a select number of hotels are available for quarantine.

Rooms are expensive and tend to book months in advance. Payment is in advance and refunds are not allowed unless there is a change in government policy or flight cancellation.

Hong Kong’s competitiveness has been hurt by the pandemic measures, company leaders said, hoping Lee, who has been the city’s chairman since July 1, would lift the quarantine rules.

The city’s border has been almost completely sealed off since 2020, and international arrivals face strict quarantine and testing protocols. It is one of the last places in the world that is still quarantining arrivals.

Lee has promised to reconnect Hong Kong to the mainland and the rest of the world. He suspended a rule in July that banned individual flights if they were flying in passengers infected with the coronavirus, saying it was causing unnecessary trouble and inconvenience to local residents.

More than 100 flights have been banned this year, a major frustration for businesses and residents used to traveling easily and efficiently from the city.

Shares of flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways rose as much as 3.5 percent to HK$8.77 after the announcement, the biggest daily percentage gain since June 28.

Cathay has been hit by Hong Kong’s strict pandemic rules over the past two years, resulting in a 98 percent drop in passenger numbers.

Hong Kong’s popular international rugby sevens event will be held on November 4-6 for the first time in more than three years. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic measures.

The tournament, which is a draw for international visitors, is set to coincide with a major banking conference this month attended by world leaders and a sign that Hong Kong can resume business as usual.

Bankers have said quarantine-free travel is a requirement for the event to go ahead.

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/hong-kong-cuts-covid-quarantine-to-three-days-in-hotel-for-incoming-travellers-41896265.html Hong Kong shortens Covid quarantine to three days in hotel for incoming travelers

Fry Electronics Team

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