Hong Kong’s leader has announced that the city will no longer require incoming travelers to quarantine at designated hotels as the city seeks to open up globally after nearly two years.
- Inbound travelers do not need to do a PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a flight to Hong Kong
- They will instead need to present a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to boarding
- John Lee said the measures will take effect on Monday
Incoming travelers will also no longer need a negative PCR test within 48 hours before boarding a flight to Hong Kong, the city’s chief executive John Lee said Friday at a news conference.
Instead, they must present a negative COVID-19 result from a rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours before boarding the flight.
All international arrivals will be able to return home or to accommodation of their choice, but will have to self-monitor for three days after entering the Chinese special administrative hub, the government said.
People will be allowed to go to work or school, but will not be allowed to enter bars or restaurants for three days.
The measures will come into effect on Monday.
“Although we can control the trend of the epidemic, we must allow the maximum space to allow connection with the world so that we can get economic momentum and reduce the inconvenience for arriving travelers,” said Lee, who also said that the authorities will not roll back those measures back that was announced on Friday.
He said there must be a “balance between risks and economic growth”.
From Monday, travelers to Hong Kong must undergo three days of home surveillance. If they test negative for COVID-19 after three days, they will be allowed access to places such as restaurants and bars.
For nearly two years, Hong Kong required overseas arrivals to the city to serve a period of mandatory quarantine at designated hotels.
At one point, the city had among the world’s longest quarantine periods of 21 days of mandatory isolation.
The easing of measures comes as Hong Kong prepares to host several high-profile events, including the Rugby Sevens tournament in November and an international banking summit.
Neighboring Taiwan is expected to follow suit with travel restrictions next month.
This leaves mainland China as one of the only places in the world that will still require travelers to quarantine on arrival.
For most of the pandemic, Hong Kong has aligned itself with China’s “zero COVID” strategy.
Over the past two and a half years, Hong Kong authorities have imposed strict social distancing measures and closed residences with confirmed COVID-19 infections to mass test residents.