The government in Hong Kong announced on September 23 the lifting of compulsory quarantine requirement for travellers from overseas, starting from 26 September. At present, the epidemic situation has peaked and is showing signs of subsiding, why the government has declared that Hong Kong’s immunity shield is able to ward off the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
On a press conference, Chief Executive John Lee said the government wishes “to minimise the inconvenience faced by arrivals due to quarantine requirements and allow room for Hong Kong to connect with the world as far as possible, while being able to contain the epidemic development.” He further said his administration also took into account people’s livelihood, economic activities, Hong Kong’s competitiveness and other factors.
As a result, it is no longer required to present negative test results for COVID-19. Instead, travellers should present a negative result of a PCR-test, conducted within 24 hours before jumping on a flight to Hong Kong. It will be possible to acquire a PCR-test at the airport, and arrivals can head home immediately without waiting for the result.
The government further introduced a “0+3 arrangement” under which arrivals are subject to three days of medical surveillance. During surveillance, they are allowed to roam freely but face restricted access to bars and restaurants. This is followed by a four-day self-monitoring period, making it a 7-day observation period in total. Travellers are expected to take four PCR-tests conducted upon arrival – day zero – and on day two, day four, and day six. With a negative test after day two, travellers are issued a blue QR-code after the third day, and they are thereby free of all restrictions. Should travellers test positive to COVID-19, their Vaccine Pass will be converted to a Red Code.
Hong Kong residents who are not fully vaccinated will be allowed to return, although they will need to follow existing procedures to obtain a Vaccine Pass.
Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies are very stringent compared to the rest of the world, and the city continues to enforce a four person limit in public, to uphold face masks outdoors, and to mandate the use of a contact tracing app to enter certain premises. Its strict inbound travel rules has been critized for quarreling the city’s reputation as the hub for global finances, why business tycoons previously has called on the city to ease its measures.