Hong Kong on Monday announced that the mandatory hotel quarantine for incoming visitors will be cut to three days, from seven, starting this Friday.
However, travelers will still have four days of home medical surveillance after the hotel quarantine, which includes monitoring with a health code system. Travelers in that home surveillance period have the ability to leave their place of residence, but not enter places where there is “active checking of vaccine passes,” John Lee, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, said in a press conference on Monday.
Places in Hong Kong that fall into that category currently include bars, gyms, beauty parlors, nursing homes, schools, and some medical facilities. Those who test negative on a rapid test will be able to take public transportation and go to shopping malls, Lee added.
Outside of mainland China, Hong Kong has one of the most restrictive remaining COVID-19 inbound travel policies. The new policy, including that three-day quarantine, is the least restrictive it has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, it was requiring 21-days of mandatory hotel quarantine.
Lee said on Monday that the change was made in order “to balance between people’s livelihood and the competitiveness of Hong Kong to give the community maximum momentum and economic vitality.”
Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier of Hong Kong, said on Monday that, even with the change, the government needs to provide a clear plan for the complete removal of the restrictions, which are still some of the most restrictive in the world.