The Hong Kong government announced that several anti-Covid measures will end on December 29, most notably the vaccine pass requirement, mandatory PCR tests for inbound travellers, and group gathering limits.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said that the following anti-epidemic and social-distancing restrictions will end on December 29:

  1. Close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients will not be issued quarantine orders. They will instead receive health contacts via confirmed patients, for whom the current five-day minimum isolation period will remain.
  2. There will be no more Vaccine Pass requirement to enter public places. Instead, the government will focus on vaccination efforts for the elderly and very young.
  3. Inbound travellers will no longer have to undergo post-arrival tests when they enter Hong Kong. However, they must still take daily antigen tests every until Day 5 after they arrive in the city. They also still need a negative pre-departure PCR test result obtained with 48 hours or a negative antigen test result within 24 hours of entering Hong Kong.
  4. Overseas arrivals no longer have to fill out a health declaration form before departing for Hong Kong.
  5. All other social-distancing restrictions — including the 12-person group gathering limit, seating caps at restaurants and nightlife establishments, and minimum distances between tables at these establishments — will end.
  6. There will be no more compulsory testing orders, but testing will remain free for those who have a requirement.

However, government officials said that indoor and outdoor mask-wearing mandates will remain because of the ongoing seasonal flu and potential mutations of Covid-19. In addition, the daily antigen testing mandates for schoolchildren and school staff will remain.

In addition, Lee reiterated that he hoped the border between Mainland China and Hong Kong will reopen by mid-January, 2023.

Header image credits: Peachyeung316 via Wiki Commons

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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