International arrivals will no longer have to quarantine at a hotel after they arrive in Hong Kong, starting September 26. They instead must undergo a three-day medical surveillance, said Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Friday.

0+3 home quarantine arrangement

Authorities also announced that inbound travellers will no longer need to provide proof of a negative PCR test before they depart for Hong Kong, and will instead have to submit a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) taken within 24 hours prior to their departure to Hong Kong.

Travellers will still have to undergo a PCR test when they arrive at the Hong Kong airport, and will be issued a health code depending on their results. Those who test negative upon arrival will be issued an amber health code, which will prevent them from entering certain public premises where they could spread the virus, such as restaurants and bars, during this three-day period. They do not need to wait for their results, but can go straight home after getting tested in any form of transport they choose.

In addition to the on-arrival test, overseas arrivals will have to undergo PCR testing on Days 2, 4 and 6 after they enter Hong Kong. If they test negative on their Day 2 test, their amber health code will change to blue on Day 3 and they can move around the city without any restrictions. They must continue to self-administer RAT tests until Day 7 after they arrive in Hong Kong. Those who test positive for the virus will get a red code and will not be allowed to move around the SAR until they recover.

The new measures for travellers to Hong Kong that came into effect on September 26, 2022 (© GovHK)

Rules for unvaccinated travellers

Unvaccinated residents may enter the city, but they will not get a Provisional Vaccine Pass and, therefore, cannot enter public places after their four-day medical surveillance period ends. Once they enter the city, they must get three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to get a valid vaccine pass, unless they meet exemption criteria. Unvaccinated tourists still cannot land in the SAR.

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The news comes after the Hong Kong government implemented a new hotel quarantine period in August, by which all arrivals into the city spent the first three days in a hotel and the following four days under medical surveillance. They currently must undergo a RAT every day until the tenth day after they arrive in the SAR, and PCR tests on Days 0, 2, 4, 6 and 9 after they enter the city.

Hong Kong began its hotel quarantine programme in December 2020, when all overseas arrivals had to stay at a quarantine for 21 days after they landed in the city. Since early 2022, the authorities have gradually reduced the hotel isolation period — to 14 days in January, seven days in May, and three days in August. The current eighth cycle of designated quarantine hotels, which was supposed to end on October 31, will now end on September 25.

Header image credits: Pavliha via Canva

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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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