Most vaccinated travellers coming into Hong Kong will have to undergo at least 14 days of compulsory quarantine and take more tests after the government further tightened Covid-19 regulations on Tuesday.

Those who have tested positive for antibodies will no longer be allowed a shorter quarantine period. The new rules take effect on Friday.

File photo: GovHK.

Hong Kong will still allow only fully vaccinated residents to travel back from 25 “high-risk” areas, including the US, UK, Indonesia, and the Philippines; the compulsory quarantine period for them will remain at 21 days.

Under the updated regulations, travellers from these areas will have to take two more tests during their quarantine period – or six tests in total. They will also be asked to self-monitor for a week after quarantine, and to take another test on the 26th day after arrival at one of the city’s community testing centres.

Unvaccinated residents coming from “medium risk” countries, including Australia, will see their quarantine period also kept at 21 days from Friday onwards, but they will also be asked to take six tests during quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travellers from those countries will still be quarantined for two weeks, but now will be tested four times, followed by seven days of self-monitoring and two more tests on the 16th and 19th day after arrival.

The seven-day quarantine period for vaccinated travellers coming in from New Zealand – the only place listed as a “low-risk” country – will remain the same, but they will face more tests. Unvaccinated arrivals from New Zealand will now be tested four times during a 14-day quarantine, while fully vaccinated incomers will be tested twice.

File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Both groups from New Zealand will be asked to self-monitor for seven days after quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers have to take two Covid-19 tests on the 16th and 19th day after arrival, while those vaccinated have to take four tests on the 9th, 12th, 16th, and 19th days after arrival in Hong Kong.

Airport worker infection

Infectious diseases expert Joseph Tang said the government should look into testing travellers transiting at the Hong Kong International Airport, after a 47-year-old woman who works at a VIP lounge at the airport tested positive with the Delta strain.

The Centre for Health Protection said they suspected the woman was infected by transit passengers, as she was responsible for welcoming them to the lounge and offering food.

Tsang said on RTHK on Wednesday that the Airport Authority should also make sure that all staff working at the airport were fully vaccinated.

“As to the arrangements for infection control [at the airport]… I believe that there will be more instructions as to the frequency of tests taken by airport workers,” said Tsang.

Hong Kong reported three coronavirus infections on Wednesday, all of which were imported cases. In all, Hong Kong has recorded 12,043 infections and 212 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.