HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong will shorten hotel quarantine to seven days for fully vaccinated residents travelling from most places – including those classified as “high-risk” like Singapore, the US and Britain – as long as they test positive for coronavirus antibodies, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday (June 21).
The move, which the report said would be announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a Monday afternoon briefing, will mark a significant easing of one of the strictest quarantine regimes in the world that currently imposes mandatory quarantine of up to 21 days for travellers.
The seven-day quarantine would be applicable to residents, including work-visa holders, returning from countries classified in high-risk Group B and medium-risk Group C under its five-tier system for assessing the overseas Covid-19 threat.
Bloomberg reported last week that the quarantine easing plan, which had been recommended by a government advisory panel earlier this month, had been approved by the government.
Places currently classified as “high risk” include Singapore, Japan, France, Germany and Italy. Fully vaccinated travellers coming from these places must currently quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.
Mrs Lam will speak at a press briefing scheduled for 3 pm on Monday, according to a government statement.
The plan would be the city’s most significant move yet to ease the stringent restrictions that have threatened its status as a financial hub as major western economies open up and vaccination pulls ahead in regional rival Singapore.
The current quarantine regime has been a growing source of public anger.
Travellers have to book their own hotel rooms, and they’re being reserved quickly over the summer period.
In Hong Kong, fully vaccinated people are also required to serve quarantine in government facilities if they come into close contact with infected people, even if they’ve tested negative for the virus.
With vaccine uptake slow amid widespread distrust of the Beijing-backed government, calls have grown for the strict rules to be relaxed for inoculated people in order to boost rates.