Hong Kong may detail plans to end hotel quarantines for domestic tourists in a move designed to blow the whistle on the financial hub’s resurgence, Oriental Daily reported.
The announcement could be made as soon as this week with arrivals instead of having to self-monitor for seven days, the paper said, citing unidentified people. The implementation date has yet to be decided as it will affect the existing operations of the airline and hotel industries, it said.
Hong Kong, along with mainland China, has adopted some of the strictest Covid measures in the world even as most countries in the region lifted restrictions and opened their borders to visitors. With financial center visitors forced to stay for three days in a designated hotel, followed by a restricted four days from bars and restaurants, questions have arisen about whether visitors will come to a proposed banker summit and iconic Rugby Sevens tournament later this year.
The city’s stance has followed China’s steadfast pursuit of a Covid Zero strategy that aims to eliminate the virus rather than live with it. Recent moves by other countries have prompted Hong Kong’s plan to relax border measures before November, Oriental Daily said, citing unnamed politicians. The report said the city government also plans to ease some social distancing measures without giving further details.
CEO John Lee has taken a number of steps to ease the city’s isolation since he was sworn in on July 1. Last month, he reduced the minimum stay in hotel isolation. down three days from seven as he faces pressure to scrap the rules altogether as rival hubs like Singapore, New York and London have reopened fully. Leading epidemiologists in Hong Kong have called for them to be dismantled as has Peter Woo, one of the city’s wealthiest real estate moguls.
The city last week said incoming travelers who tested positive for Covid-19 could stay in their quarantine hotel instead of being transferred to quarantine hotels or community facilities like Penny’s. Flying infamous. Some potential visitors to popular Hong Kong events have said that they would not attend if there was a risk they might be sent to quarantine facilities.
In addition to border regulations, Hong Kong maintains some of the strictest Covid-19 measures in existence in the world as the country grapples with thousands of new infections every day. Everyone is required to wear a mask at all times, have a health code checked when eating and drinking, and school students are required to undergo a daily rapid antigen test. Public gathering restrictions remain limited on how many people can sit together at a restaurant while bar patrons must have shown a negative Covid test in the previous 24 hours.
The disagreement over Hong Kong’s rules has exposed deep divisions within the city’s elite over its handling of the pandemic. The The debate escalated on Friday after the former chief executive of the Hospital Authority criticized the slow pace of the city’s reopening process.
Register Fortune feature email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews and surveys.