Hong Kong will shorten its 21-day Covid-19 hotel quarantine requirement for incoming travellers to 14-days, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Thursday. From February 5, incoming travellers will need to undergo a fortnight in a quarantine hotel followed by seven days of self-monitoring at home.

The city has maintained a “zero-Covid” strategy and some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world amid fears that the city’s status an an international business hub could be affected. At present, only Hong Kong residents are able to return from high-risk areas and flights from eight countries are banned.

File photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

The chief executive said that the change was made considering Omicron’s shorter incubation period.

Those under self-monitoring will be allowed to leave their homes, but will be required to take two compulsory tests during the seven-day period.

Meanwhile, current social distancing measures are to be extended again until February 17, Lam said, with large-scale events cancelled. In-class teaching at schools will remain suspended.

Travel restrictions

According to current entry requirements, most travellers are subject to a 21-day mandatory quarantine in a designated hotel, with those arriving from 13 places having to spend their first four days of quarantine in a government facility.

Non-residents are only allowed into the city if they are fully vaccinated and travelling from medium-risks countries. They have to undergo 14 days of quarantine and self-monitor for the following seven days.

Hong Kong has reported 13,626 infections and 213 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago.

More to follow.

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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.