HONG KONG: Hong Kong will end mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals starting from Monday (Sep 26), the city leader said on Friday, ending travel curbs that have kept the finance hub globally isolated for the past two and a half years.
“Under this arrangement, the quarantine hotel system will be cancelled,” Chief Executive John Lee told reporters.
Earlier this week, Lee said he was conscious that Hong Kong needed to retain its competitiveness, and that authorities were keen to bring back events and activities to the city.
“We know exactly where we should be heading and want to be consistent as we move in that direction. We would like to have an orderly opening-up … because we don’t want to have chaos or confusion in the process,” he told reporters then.
Taking its cues from China which is pursuing a zero-COVID policy, Hong Kong remains one of the few places in the world to require travellers from abroad to quarantine upon arrival, even if the length of quarantine has eased over time.
Currently, arrivals must pay for three days in a hotel and follow that with four days of self-monitoring.
Hong Kong’s government had also announced on Tuesday that it would maintain current social distancing measures until Oct 5.
“The epidemic has stabilised and has begun to show a downward trend. The pressure on the public medical system has eased slightly. Now is a critical moment to further stabilise and control the epidemic.
“As such, the government has decided to continue the current social distancing measures for another 14-day cycle,” it said in a statement.
Hong Kong residents are required to wear masks in vehicles and at specified public places, and public gatherings of more than four people. These requirements remain unchanged.
People aged 12 and above also need to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, malls, supermarkets and sports facilities in Hong Kong.