Hong Kong Eases Travel Rules – Flight Bans and Quarantine
Hong Kong will lift the ban on flights from nine countries and reduce hotel quarantine alongside a “roadmap” towards eased restrictions that suggest a departure from the zero-Covid policy.
The ban on flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, the UK, and the US will end on 1 April.
Flight bans are no longer necessary for those nine countries because the situations there were “no worse” than that in Hong Kong, the chief executive, Carrie Lam, told the media on 21 March.
At the same time, hotel quarantine for international arrivals in approved hotels will be cut to 7 days from 14. Arrivals must test negative on Day 6 and Day 7 of quarantine before being allowed to visit the city.
Hong Kong will no longer divide travellers from different categories of countries but only residents with a completed course of vaccination will be able to board flights to the city and a hotel quarantine stay of at least 7 days must be booked.
Hong Kong chief executive, Carrie Lam, also confirmed citywide Covid-19 mass testing will be put “on hold”.
Most social-distancing measures, mask-wearing, and business and venue operations will be gradually eased from 20 April.
Pressure From Business Community
The moves were reportedly spurred by frustration in the banking community and wider population, which has endured more than two years of effectively closed borders.
While curbs and quarantines kept the city virtually virus-free for much of the pandemic, the more contagious Omicron variant evaded measures.
Hong Kong now has the highest Covid-19 death rate in the world, with hundreds of under-vaccinated elderly people and care-home residents killed by the virus.
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