Hong Kong will end hotel quarantine from early October, says report

HONG KONG - Hong Kong will scrap its Covid-19 hotel quarantine policy for all arrivals from early October, more than 21/2 years after it was first adopted, news portal HK01 said on Thursday, citing unidentified sources.

The move is set to be announced next week, it added.

Currently, arrivals must pay for three days in a hotel, followed by four days of self-monitoring. The new rules will abolish the need for arrivals from overseas to quarantine at designated hotels.

Residents will be able to go straight home and self-monitor for seven days, HK01 said.

People who are required to self-monitor are currently allowed to move around the city, although there are some limits on the types of places they can access.

Hong Kong still bans public groups of more than four people, and face masks are mandatory, even for children as young as two.

The authorities also plan to end a requirement that travellers get a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR)test result 48 hours or less before arriving in the city, said local media, including HKET, Oriental Daily and Sing Tao Daily. A lab-confirmed PCR test will still be required upon arrival, they said.

Mr Michael Tien, a National People's Congress deputy and city lawmaker, had said that the government could start disclosing details about the easing by the end of September, citing his understanding from discussions with officials.

Hong Kong's leader John Lee said this week he wanted to keep the city connected with the rest of the world and allow an orderly opening-up but did not specify when the quarantine policy would be changed.

The easing would come at a time when infections are in decline, falling to about 6,000 a day from more than 10,000 earlier in the month. Most are found in the local community, with only 146 imported cases reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, public hospitals will gradually restart some non-emergency procedures that were halted as a flare-up in Covid-19 cases in recent months strained healthcare facilities, Hospital Authority chief manager Sara Ho said on Thursday, though she did not say which services will return.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2022, with the headline Hong Kong will end hotel quarantine from early October, says report. Subscribe