Covid quarantine stay reduced for travellers in Hong Kong

By reducing the COVID-19 hotel quarantine time for all arrivals from seven to three days, Hong Kong is taking another step toward gradually relaxing the strict pandemic regulations that have kept the Asian financial capital isolated.

John Lee, the mayor of the city, announced the measures at a news conference on Monday. They will go into effect on Friday.

For a further four days, visitors must self-monitor and are not permitted inside establishments like restaurants and bars.

In order to provide the community the most energy and economic vigor, Lee remarked, “We need to strike a balance between the livelihood of the people and the competitiveness of Hong Kong.”

A government-mandated software will assign everyone in quarantine a red code. Once they are released from quarantine, this will change to a yellow code designating that they should avoid crowded areas.

In the past, quarantine might last up to three weeks. Currently, all new entrants are required to spend at least a week in hotel quarantine, abide by stringent testing requirements, provide feces samples for infants, and complete numerous documents.

There are only a few hotels that can be quarantined.

Because they are expensive, hotels are frequently sold out months in advance. Payment must be given in full upfront, and refunds are not accepted unless a change in governmental regulations or a canceled flight occurs.

Business executives have said that the pandemic precautions have hurt Hong Kong’s ability to compete, and they had hoped that Lee, the city’s leader since July 1, will revoke the quarantine requirements.

Since 2020, the city’s border has been almost entirely locked, and visitors from other countries must follow stringent testing and quarantine procedures. It’s one of the remaining places on earth where new visitors are still subject to quarantine.

Lee has vowed to reunite Hong Kong with the rest of the globe and the mainland. In July, he lifted a rule that prohibited specific flights from taking off if they carried passengers who had the coronavirus, claiming that it was unnecessary hassle and discomfort for locals.

This year, more than 100 flights were halted, which was very frustrating for locals and companies used to quick and convenient transit from the city.

Following the announcement, shares of the company’s flagship airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, increased by as much as 3.5 percent to HK$8.77, marking the largest daily percentage increase since June 28.

On Monday, Cathay stated that the modifications were good efforts to help ease transit into Hong Kong.

“To maintain Hong Kong’s standing as an international aviation hub, we are requesting that the government immediately offer a clear roadmap outlining the swift elimination of all COVID-related limitations for pilots and passengers.”

Over the past two years, Cathay has suffered as a result of Hong Kong’s stringent pandemic regulations, which have caused a 98 percent decline in passenger volume.

For the first time in more than three years, the well-known international Rugby Sevens competition in Hong Kong will take place November 4-6. In 2020 and 2021, it was postponed due to pandemic measures.

The event, which attracts tourists from across the world, is planned to take place that month in conjunction with a significant banking conference that will be attended by top executives from around the world. It will serve as a sign that Hong Kong can continue business as usual.

Quarantine-free travel is a need for the event, according to bankers.

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