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Hong Kong reduces Covid quarantine for arrivals

#Hong #Kong #reduces #Covid #quarantine #arrivals

Hong Kong will cut mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals from one week to three days from Friday, Chief Executive John Lee announced in an easing of Covid restrictions that have severely curtailed travel.

Once a global logistics and transportation hub, Hong Kong has been largely cut off from the rest of the world for more than two years due to its strict adherence to China’s zero-Covid policy.

Under some of the world’s strictest pandemic rules, Hong Kong had required arrivals from overseas and Taiwan to undergo mandatory quarantine and repeated testing for seven days while confined to a room at a designated hotel, a restriction residents and businesspeople are aware of travel had complained about.

Lee, Hong Kong’s former security chief-turned-city leader, announced Monday the quarantine period for arrivals would be reduced to three days of hotel quarantine plus four days of health surveillance at home or a hotel of their choosing.

“We hope to maintain Hong Kong’s livelihood and competitiveness, and bring the best development momentum and economic vitality to society,” Lee said.

He denied that the easing had signaled a departure from China’s policy.

“Keeping in touch with the outside world and working to resume quarantine-free travel with the mainland are not contradictions,” he said.

Alongside the new quarantine regulations, Hong Kong will implement a health code system similar to that in mainland China in a government-developed tracking app.

As part of the system, an infected person receives a red code that prevents them from leaving quarantine.

Overseas arrivals will be given a yellow code and barred from entering places like restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas during their four-day self-surveillance.

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