Hong Kong has reduced the quarantine period for new arrivals to three days
On Monday, Hong Kong’s chief executive announced a reduction in the necessary hotel quarantine for visitors arriving from outside the city, from seven days to three days.
This southern Chinese city is one of only two sites in the world where quarantine is still required in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from travellers. The quarantine period for new arrivals in Hong Kong will be the shortest since the epidemic began on Friday, when the new regulation goes into force.
According to Hong Kong’s leader, John Lee, visitors must quarantine for three days at a specified hotel before being subjected to medical surveillance for four days, during which time their movements would be restricted via a health code system.
For the first time, Lee stated that the three-day quarantine policy was based on scientific evidence and data.
“We also have to balance the risks against the economic activities and social lives of Hong Kong people,” Lee remarked.
“(The data) gives us the indication that the risk factor of people who have finished three days quarantine in a designated hotel … is actually no more than the risk level of transmission in society,” he said.
Despite an increase in daily infections that city health authorities fear will quadruple to 8,000 in the coming weeks, the revisions to COVID-19 policies have gone into effect.
Travelers will also be tested for COVID-19 during their week of quarantine and surveillance, and those who are infected must remain in isolation.
The only places those who test negative can visit are bars and amusement parks; they also can not go to nursing homes, schools, or some medical facilities.
When it comes to COVID-19 entry regulations, Hong Kong has the strictest in the world. A “circuit breaker” technique was used in Hong Kong at one point to prevent certain aircraft from flying into the city if they had too many cases of COVID-19.
As a result of these restrictions, the city’s tourism industry has been decimated, and corporate travel has been severely impacted.
Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people have fled the city since the outbreak of the epidemic began. The return of quarantine-free travel in nations like Singapore has also prompted a number of businesses to migrate.