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Hong Kong ends hotel quarantine. This is the new 7-day test protocol

Hong Kong has scrapped its hotel quarantine for domestic travelers in a most significant move yet to end the isolation and signaled that more relaxation is possible as the city tries to recover. status as a global financial center.

Under the new rules that will go into effect Monday morning, people arriving in the city will no longer need to take a PCR test before departure, with rapid testing now sufficient, although they will still need to do PCR. on arrival, CEO. John Lee said at a briefing on Friday. Traveler will also be allowed to leave the airport by public transport.

For three days after they arrive in Hong Kong, visitors will continue to face restrictions on their movement, including being banned from bars and eating at restaurants, he said. That compares with the current policy that stipulates travelers to stay in hotels for three days followed by four days of restricted movement.

“We want to make sure we’re monitoring the situation closely so that all risks are well controlled and things can progress in an orderly fashion,” Lee said. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation. If there are positive developments as we progress, there will be more room for us to take additional measures so we can have more movement, more activity, and more room for us. perform different activities. “

Hong Kong is slowly adopting some of its toughest rules, which have kept it in line with China’s Covid Zero policies but have destroyed the city’s economy and global standing. These changes come before a number of famous events including international events banking summit and the iconic Rugby Sevens tournament scheduled for November.

Bankers have decreed that quarantine rules need to be cut so they can attend, while the city as a whole is struggling to prevent one brain drain after more than two years of harsh rules of the virus.

Visitors will still face a series of tests after they arrive in Hong Kong. As well as the PCR test on arrival, which officials call ‘Day 0’, they will need a PCR test on Days 2, 4 and 6 plus a daily rapid test until Day 7. If a person has a result If they test positive, they will be allowed to isolate at home, a hotel, or in a community facility in accordance with exit rules that allow the person to end quarantine if they are negative on Friday and Saturday. .

Test mode:

  • Day 0: Airport PCR, plus rapid testing. Restrict movement in place
  • Day 1: Quick check. Restrict movement in place
  • Day 2: PCR plus rapid test. Restrict movement in place
  • Day 3: Quick check. Movement restrictions are lifted in the morning if the previous test result is negative
  • Day 4: PCR plus rapid test. Allowed to move freely
  • Day 5: Quick test. Allowed to move freely
  • Day 6: PCR plus rapid test. Allowed to move freely
  • Day 7: Quick test. Allowed to move freely

The removal of the quarantine area has sparked a wave of flight bookings, with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd website. struggling with a spike in traffic. The airline said it plans to add more than 200 pairs of passenger flights by October, and while it will promote flights as quickly as possible, rebuilding capacity is a gradual process.

In addition to removing the hotel quarantine, Hong Kong will now allow unvaccinated residents to board flights to the city, but vaccination requirements will still apply to non-residents. It will also remove limits on the number of people arriving from mainland China and Macau without quarantine, and allow people to enter from all regions of the country.

The easing comes as the city’s daily Covid cases are falling, falling to less than 6,000 a day from more than 10,000 earlier this month. Most are local infections, with 156 imported cases reported Friday.

It’s the latest in a number of steps Lee has taken to make travel less high-stakes since taking the oath of office on July 1. He has ended a number of flight bans that could make travel difficult. travel was derailed, cutting the length of stay in hotel isolation. a plan to stop ordering the people run by the government isolation facility and stop taking the temperature of transit passengers as they pass through the city’s airport.

Hong Kong has pursued reopening measures that have been adopted by all of its major financial rivals, including New York, London and, most importantly, regionally, Singapore. Many foreign workers have left the city for Singapore, which began reopening in the spring, and stuck with it even as the number of cases rises again.

–With support from Michelle Fay Cortez and Danny Lee.

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