Hong Kong reduces COVID-19 hotel quarantine from 7 to 3 days
An additional move will be taken by Hong Kong to progressively unwind harsh pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub. The COVID-19 hotel quarantine time will be shortened from seven days to three days, and all arrivals will be subject to the new rule.
John Lee, the leader of the city, announced during a news conference on Monday that the new regulations will begin to take effect on Friday (Aug 8).
Arrivals will be required to self-monitor for an additional four days, during which time they will not be permitted to access any establishments, including restaurants and bars.
“We need to strike a balance between people’s lifestyle and the competitiveness of Hong Kong,” added Lee, “in order to provide the community the most possible energy and economic vigor.”
A mandatory government app will display a red code for individuals who are being held in quarantine. After they have been released from the quarantine, they will receive a yellow code, which indicates that they are not permitted to access crowded places.
In the past, the quarantine period may last for up to three weeks. At this time, all new immigrants are required to spend at least a week in quarantine at the hotel, comply with periodic testing requirements, provide feces samples for babies, and fill out various documents.
There are only a limited number of hotels that can serve as quarantine facilities.
Because of their high cost, rooms are frequently reserved weeks or even months in advance. The payment must be made in advance, and there is no option for a refund unless there is either a change in the policy of the governing body or the cancellation of the flight.
According to business executives, Hong Kong’s competitiveness has taken a significant hit as a result of the pandemic measures. They expressed their hope that Lee, who has served as the city’s leader since July 1, would repeal the quarantine regulations.
Since the year 2020, the city’s border has been almost entirely sealed, and anyone arriving from outside the country must go through rigorous testing and quarantine procedures. It is one of the few places left in the world that still requires visitors to go through a quarantine upon their arrival.
The promise that Lee has made is to reestablish connections between Hong Kong and the mainland as well as the rest of the world. In July, he ordered the suspension of a rule that prohibited specific planes from entering the country if they brought in passengers sick with the coronavirus. He did so on the grounds that the restriction caused citizens needless worry and discomfort.
This year, more than one hundred flights were prohibited, which was a big source of aggravation for businesses and residents who were accustomed to quick and easy transit from the city.
After the announcement, shares of Cathay Pacific Airways, the company’s main carrier, surged as high as 3.5 percent to HK$8.77, representing the largest daily percentage jump since June 28.
On Monday, Cathay Pacific stated that the changes were constructive initiatives that would help make traveling into Hong Kong easier.
“We are asking the government to swiftly offer a clear roadmap indicating the total elimination of all COVID-related limitations for aircrew and passengers as soon as it is practical to protect Hong Kong’s standing as an international aviation hub,” the statement reads.
In the past two years, Hong Kong’s stringent pandemic restrictions have been a burden for Cathay, resulting in a decline in passenger numbers of 98%. This has caused Cathay to suffer significant financial losses.
After an absence of more than three years, the renowned international Rugby Sevens competition that takes place in Hong Kong will return in the month of November. Due to preventative precautions taken against the pandemic, it was not held in 2020 or 2021.
The event, which is an attraction for international visitors, is planned to coincide with a big banking conference that month, which will be attended by top executives from across the world, and will be a message that Hong Kong can resume normal commercial operations.
The participation of financiers in the event is contingent upon there being no restrictions placed on travel, as stated by the bankers.