HONG KONG - From next week, Hong Kong may allow residents and workers to return from extremely high-risk areas if they have a recognised Covid-19 vaccination record.
The document must be issued by Hong Kong, mainland China or countries recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as having "stringent regulatory authorities", it was reported on Thursday (July 15).
Unvaccinated children aged 18 or below and stranded in Britain - one of eight countries listed as "extremely high-risk" by the Hong Kong government - can also return to the territory, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an insider.
It said the arrangement for unvaccinated children was made on compassionate grounds to allow them to reunite with their families during the summer holidays.
All arrivals, a country's risk level not withstanding, will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding a flight to Hong Kong. Currently, travellers from medium- or low-risk places are exempted from the requirement, the report said.
Besides Britain, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa are also considered extremely high risk by Hong Kong. Among these places, only Britain has what WHO considers as "stringent regulatory authorities".
This means that inoculation records issued by the Philippines and Indonesia, which supply most of the city's domestic helpers, will not be accepted.
The Labour and Welfare Bureau as well as Labour Department plan to work out a mechanism for recognising vaccination records with countries that supply helpers.
The Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies previously estimated that about 5,000 helpers who had been issued work visas were stranded in the Philippines and Indonesia. Flights from the Philippines to Hong Kong have been banned since April and none from Indonesia have come in since late June.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from extremely high-risk countries will be subject to 21 days of quarantine in a designated hotel, four tests during isolation, another week of self-monitoring and testing on the 26th day upon arrival.