Header image courtesy of Simon Zhu (via Unsplash)
Hong Kong might soon see tourists and overseas visitors back in the city after more than two years, reversing a policy that had been put in place to close off its borders to non-residents in March 2020. Under the new rules, set to come into effect on 1 May 2022, Hong Kong will allow fully vaccinated international travellers to enter. Same as Hong Kong residents, they will be required to undergo testing and serve out a hotel quarantine.
Current Covid-19 measures for inbound travellers include providing a valid vaccination record, presenting a negative pre-departure PCR test taken within 48 hours before the flight, and testing upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, after which travellers will be delivered to their designed quarantine hotel for a seven-day isolation period.
Also to be implemented in early May, Hong Kong is considering a revision to its “test-and-hold” arrangement at the airport. Adding a rapid antigen testing requirement for arrivals on top of the regular PCR test would “further shorten the waiting time of inbound passengers at the airport to reduce crowd gathering, while maintaining stringent control of importation risks,” as per the Hong Kong government’s press release. It will effectively cut down the time travellers would need to wait at the holding station, as arrivals with negative RAT results can be transferred to their hotels while awaiting their PCR test results.
In addition, the “flight suspension mechanism”—which temporarily bans inbound flights and carriers from countries if they are deemed to carry too many Covid-positive travellers—will be adjusted from three passengers to five or more, or five percent of passengers aboard the flight (whichever number is greater). Route suspensions, implemented as a “circuit breaker” system for high-risk flights, will also be lowered from seven days to five.
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