Hong Kong authorities will ease its Covid hotel quarantine requirements for people arriving from overseas, Chief Executive John Lee informed on Monday.
From Friday, those arriving in the city will have to stay at designated quarantine hotels for three days. They will then undergo another four days of “medical surveillance” either at home or at any hotel. Currently, overseas arrivals are required to quarantine for 7 days at designated hotels. During the “medical surveillance” period, people can go out but may not enter places that require vaccine passes to be checked, including bars, gyms and recreation centres. They are also barred from participating in any mask-off activities – such as certain forms of exercise – or entering homes for the elderly or disabled people and designated medical venues. But if they test negative daily during the four-day period, they can take public transport, go to work and enter shopping centres or public markets.
Lee claimed that the government would “actively control” the number of Covid cases. Covid cases soared in Hong Kong earlier this year after the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. As the rest of the world opens up, the city’s insistence on maintaining strict travel restrictions, which have put the economy under severe strain, has been increasingly criticised.