Hong Kong shortens COVID hotel quarantine for arrivals to 3 days

Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer John Lee speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong on Monday, August 8, 2022.  Li said on Monday that the period of mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign arrivals would be reduced from one week to three days.  (AP photo/Qin Cheung)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer John Lee speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong on Monday, August 8, 2022. Li said on Monday that the period of mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign arrivals would be reduced from one week to three days. (AP photo/Qin Cheung)

AP

The city leader said on Monday that Hong Kong would reduce the mandatory hotel quarantine for foreign arrivals from one week to three days.

The southern Chinese city is one of the few places in the world that, along with mainland China, requires a quarantine to protect against travelers spreading COVID-19 to the local population. The policy, which takes effect on Friday, will be Hong Kong’s shortest quarantine for arrivals since the pandemic began.

Hong Kong leader John Lee said arriving travelers would have to quarantine for three days in a designated hotel, then undergo four days of medical surveillance, during which their activities would be restricted through the use of a health code system.

Lee said the new policy of just three days in quarantine was made after analyzing scientific evidence and data to control for risk factors.

“We also have to balance the risks against economic activity and (in the people) social life of Hong Kong,” Li said.

“(The data) indicates to us that the risk factor of people ending a three-day quarantine in a designated hotel is actually no higher than the risk level of transmission in society,” he said.

The changes to COVID-19 policies come despite a surge in daily infections, which city health officials have warned could double to 8,000 in the coming weeks.

During their weeks of quarantine and surveillance, travelers will also have to be regularly tested for COVID-19 and those who are infected must remain in isolation.

People who test negative can use public transportation and enter malls and markets, but they cannot enter bars and amusement parks or visit elderly homes, schools and some medical facilities Huh.

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 flights into the city from some airlines if they imported too many COVID-19 cases. .

These measures have devastated the city’s tourism industry and disrupted business travel in the city known as an international financial center and a business centre.

Hundreds of thousands of residents have left Hong Kong since the pandemic began. Many companies have also moved to countries like Singapore where quarantine-free travel has resumed.

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