Hong Kong will reopen to non-residents on May 1, the government announced on Friday evening. The Covid-19 flight suspension mechanism, which sees a seven-day route ban when three passengers test positive for the coronavirus on arrival in the city, will also be adjusted from May, with the ban shortened to five days.

The flight suspension mechanism has been triggered 25 times since April 1.

Photo: GovHK.

The Food and Health Bureau issued a statement on Friday evening detailing its plan to ease the city’s Covid-19 travel restrictions.

“Although daily passenger arrivals have increased since April 1, when the government lifted the flight bans from nine overseas regions, the ratio of imported case has dropped instead of risen,” the statement said.

According to the statement, non-residents will be allowed to enter the city from May 1. All inbound travellers are required to be fully vaccinated, obtain a negative result with a nucleic acid test before departure and make a prior booking at a designated quarantine hotel.

Flight suspension mechanism to ease

The rules surrounding the flight suspension mechanism will also be adjusted from May, with the flight ban duration shortened from seven days to five.

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From May 1, a five-day route ban will be triggered if at least five passengers or five per cent of travellers – whichever is higher – test positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Hong Kong. If at least three people test positive on arrival and at least one passenger fails to present the required documents, such as travel history and details of their health conditions, the suspension will also be triggered.

The health authority will also require arrivals to undergo a rapid test at the airport, on top of a nucleic acid test. The Food and Health Bureau said it was to “ensure earlier spotting of infected arriving travellers.”

In total, Hong Kong has recorded 1,200,334 Covid-19 infections and 9,212 related deaths as of Thursday.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.