Travellers arriving in Hong Kong will face stricter Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures from next Monday as fears grow about the infectious Delta variant.
Despite the fact that Hong Kong has seen a 57-day streak of zero locally transmitted cases, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday that the new measures were required in order to “build an anti-epidemic barrier” for the city.
Countries will be re-categorised into three groups: Group A (High-risk), Group B (Medium-risk), and Group C (Low-risk), officials said. The re-categorisation was made based on “public health considerations…as well as other local socio-economic factors” connected to the countries involved.
All incoming travellers will have to present a negative Covid-19 test result conducted within 72 hours of the scheduled time of boarding, as well as a booking confirmation from a designated quarantine hotel.
They will be tested again upon arrival in Hong Kong, and will also have to use transportation arranged by the government to their designated quarantine hotels.
Countries in Group A includes Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Only Hong Kong residents will be allowed to enter the city from high-risk areas.
Unvaccinated residents or those do not have a recognised vaccination record can only enter the city if they did not stay in any high-risk areas for more than two hours in the 21 days prior to arriving in Hong Kong.
Travellers will have to undergo 21 days of compulsory quarantine at a designated hotel, and take four tests during that period. They will also have to self monitor for seven days after their quarantine, and take another test on the 26th day of arrival in the city.
Children of Hong Kong residents, aged 12 or below, even if unvaccinated, can be accompanied by fully vaccinated residents.
Any countries, apart from Australia and New Zealand, not listed as a high-risk area, are listed in Group B as medium-risk. Hong Kong residents and fully vaccinated non-residents are allowed to enter the city from the listed countries.
Unvaccinated residents have to undergo 21 days of compulsory quarantine and take four tests during the time period.
Fully vaccinated travellers will have to be quarantined for 14 days, and be tested three times. They will also have to self monitor for seven days after their quarantine, and take two more tests on their 16th and 19th day after arrival.
Those fully vaccinated and tested positive for antibodies can quarantine for a shorter period of seven days, and take two tests during the compulsory quarantine. They will also have to be self-monitoring for seven days after quarantine and take four tests on the 9th, 12th, 16th and 19th day after arrival.
Only Australia and New Zealand are listed as low-risk countries at the moment. Unvaccinated travellers have to undergo two weeks of compulsory quarantine and take three tests during the time period. They will also have to take two more tests on the 16th and 19th day after arrival, and self-monitor for seven days after quarantine.
Fully vaccinated incoming travellers only have to quarantine for seven days and take two tests. They will also have to self-monitor for seven days after quarantine and test twice on the 9th and 12th day following arrival.
The government has also imposed stricter vaccination and testing requirements for workers who will be in contact with incoming travellers, such as airport staff and those who work in designated quarantine hotels.
Fully vaccinated airport staff will have to be tested every 14 days. All vaccinated quarantine transport and hotel workers are tested every week. Those who refuse to be vaccinated must present a medical proof.
Unvaccinated airport workers have to be tested weekly, while unvaccinated quarantine hotel and transport staff will be tested every three days.
Hong Kong reported four coronavirus infections on Tuesday, all of which were imported cases. The city has recorded 11,995 infections and 212 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago.