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Hong Kong lifts international travel quarantine after more than two years

New rules, which will come into force from 26 September, require incoming travelers to self-monitor for three days upon arrival.

The Hong Kong government is under considerable pressure from the business community and some public health officials to ease restrictions amid the economic downturn. outflow of foreigners And concerns that the financial hub once known as “Asia’s World City” is being left behind as the rest of the world emerges from the pandemic.

Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee said at a long-awaited news conference on Friday that the number of infections in the city had stabilized, allowing for the lifting of the quarantine.

“We want to give Hong Kong the most room to reconnect and revitalize its economy,” Lee said.

Incoming travelers can self-monitor for three days at home or at a location of their choice. During this time, you can go out, but depending on the location, going out will be restricted.

Arrivals will no longer be required to provide a negative PCR test before boarding an airplane. However, she must submit a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result 24 hours prior to boarding.

During the three-day surveillance period, people will be assigned Amber under the city’s Digital Health Code and will be barred from entering places such as bars and restaurants.

PCR tests must be performed on days 2, 4, and 6 after arrival, and RAT tests must be performed daily for 7 days after arrival.

The policy shift follows Japan’s announcement that it will reopen its borders from October 11, followed by the end of mandatory quarantine on October 13, once Taiwan has passed the peak of the latest Omicron BA-5 outbreak. It happened after I said I was aiming.

Two major international events, the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament and the Global Banking Conference, are scheduled for November and are seen as a way to revive the beleaguered city, so it remains to be seen when the city will lift restrictions. Doubts about mitigation are growing stronger.Democratization movement in recent years protest and follow civil liberties crackdown in Beijing.
Various governments introduced border controls after the pandemic hit, but most countries have since withdrawn the measures. Attracting foreign companies and talent.
But unlike other global hubs, Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies have long been seen as closely tied to mainland China, where Beijing continues to maintain tight regulations. Zero Covid Policy There are no signs of abating as eradicating the infection remains the top priority.

Calls for relaxed border controls under the leadership of Lee’s predecessor, Carrie Lam, who stepped down on June 30, were thwarted by competing demands to begin quarantine-free travel to the mainland. The proposal has not yet been realized.

A public signal of Beijing’s support for Hong Kong’s new policy route came on Sept. 20, when Huang Liuquan, Deputy Director General of the Hong Kong-Macao Secretariat, said the Hong Kong government was adjusting its policies to local conditions and Appeared when stating adjustments were made. No need to “over-interpret”.

The new policy for international arrivals in Hong Kong may not portend an imminent change in mainland policy, but it does show that the situation is different on both sides of the border.

While the city kept local cases to a minimum in the first two years of the pandemic, Hong Kong explosive outbreak The highly contagious Omicron variant spread earlier this year, and the Covid-zero stance has not been restored since. Instead, the city continues to record hundreds to thousands of cases each day. Official records show he has more than 1.7 million reported cases in a city of 7.4 million people, but experts believe the real number is higher.

In mainland China, by contrast, the majority of the country has yet to be exposed to the virus. There is a lack of population when it comes to natural immunity from infection. A large outbreak in a healthcare system.

Hong Kong bets on zero Covid.We are now facing a

Hong Kong’s new measures come more than 900 days after the city first enacted border restrictions in March 2020 and nearly two days after mandating hotel quarantines for all international arrivals in December 2020. It was done a year later. The quarantine period lasted up to 21 days. Travelers who tested positive during quarantine were transferred to designated facilities, including government-run camps.

The program has become increasingly controversial among the public after a Covid-19 vaccine became widely available, the number of local cases increased, and places with similar systems like New Zealand and Australia opened their borders. I got a

A shortage of available hotel rooms and restrictions on flights this summer have left travelers with itineraries disrupted, for example, by contracting COVID-19 or by rescheduling flights. The case sparked public outrage as they risked being locked outside the city until free rooms opened.

Certain restrictions have been eased in recent months. In May, non-Hong Kong residents were allowed to enter Hong Kong from abroad for the first time in more than two years, but plans to suspend some flights, including those with coronavirus-positive passengers, were scrapped in July. was done.

Earlier this summer, Lee’s administration shortened the quarantine from one week to three days and added an additional four days of health surveillance. During that time, arrivals are not allowed to go to places such as bars, gyms, or restaurants.

Hotel quarantines and pre-flight testing requirements were seen as the remaining major hurdles to traveling to the city, but Questions remain as to what role the new plans will play in reviving the once-bustling tourism industry in the city.

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