In a significant retreat of pandemic rules that have hampered the city’s reputation as a financial and tourist hub, Hong Kong is reportedly getting ready to announce the termination of the requirement for international inbound travelers to spend at least one night in a hotel quarantine.
Unnamed sources told local media that the official announcement might occur as early as next week. Hotel quarantine would be completely eliminated under the government’s new plans, and travelers would only be required to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.
Currently, arriving travelers are required to quarantine for three days in a hotel room before enduring four days of self-monitoring.
The city is under pressure to lift the majority of the remaining limitations before significant bankers gathering in November, despite the fact that pandemic regulations have been incrementally reduced over a number of months.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong relaxed its need for pilots and cabin crew to undergo a mandated quarantine period before entering the territory. However, local aircrew are still required to follow stringent “closed loop” measures while traveling internationally.
In response to a now-deleted warning from the U.S. State Department that travelers should avoid transiting through the airport out of concern that they could be placed in quarantine for presenting with an elevated temperature, the city has also eliminated mandatory temperature testing for the majority of inbound travelers passing through Hong Kong International Airport.
Officials from the government are eager to restore Hong Kong’s status as a significant international transit hub, but airlines will need time to restore operations, and travelers want stability and as little red tape as possible.
According to reports, bankers have been pressuring the city to discontinue post-arrival COVID-19 testing since the possibility of being quarantined for a positive test could discourage many visitors from even trying to fly to Hong Kong.
Although Hong Kong has some of the strongest pandemic regulations in the world, pressure to reopen to the outside world is growing as public opinion about COVID limitations begins to change.
However, the Chinese territory has been greatly influenced by Beijing’s ‘Zero COVID’ credo, making its path towards normalcy more challenging than that of the neighboring nations in the region.