Hong Kong may slash its rules on handling international travelers, ending the pre-flight lab testing and hotel quarantine requirements that made coming to the once dynamic Asian financial hub fraught.
An announcement ending the hotel quarantines, which was cut to three days from seven days just weeks ago, could arrive as soon as this week.
New arrivals may be asked to do rapid antigen tests rather than bring a copy of a negative PCR lab result conducted within the previous 48 hours, removing another hurdle that made travel inconvenient.
The implementation date for scraping the hotel quarantine will affect existing operations for the airline and hotel industries and hasn’t yet been decided. According to sources, international travelers will instead be required to undergo self-monitoring for seven days.
The changes in the city’s COVID-19 policy may arrive before a host of major international events designed to trumpet Hong Kong’s revival are scheduled to take place starting in late October. Removal of travel restrictions that isolated the city for the past two-and-a-half years, and kept COVID-19 largely at bay until a sweeping outbreak this spring, were considered a prerequisite for many visitors Hong Kong was hoping to welcome.
Aside from the reported changes to border rules, travelers will still be required to undergo a series of laboratory and rapid tests for COVID-19 after they arrive. They aren’t allowed to go to venues including bars, restaurants, and other indoor entertainment facilities for their first week in the city, though the city’s government will not rule out re-examining the restrictions.
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