Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said that the government is “moving into a new phase of anti-epidemic measures [where] Covid-19 will be managed as an upper respiratory disease”. Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Lee said that the authorities aims to remove restrictions on overseas travellers such as vaccination requirements and pre-departure testing soon.

Currently, all tourists who wish to enter Hong Kong must be vaccinated with at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and should produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test result before they depart for the SAR.

The CE also stressed that resumption of quarantine-free travel with the Mainland is also part of the government’s plan for “a full return to normalcy”, and he hopes “to announce removing the [pre-departure] PCR requirement and the quota soon”.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee talks about when the government will scrap the mandatory mask-wearing rule.

Earlier this month, the borders between the SAR and the Mainland reopened, with a daily quota of 60,000 placed on travellers crossing the border via land, sea, and air. In addition, the Mainland scrapped its mandatory requirement for a pre-departure Covid-19 test to children under three years old entering from Hong Kong.

Lee also said that the government will announce a “major relaunch activity” to promote tourism in Hong Kong. Last year, the government said that it would hand out 500,000 free air tickets to travellers in 2023 to encourage visitors to come to the city after all Covid-related travel restrictions are removed.

When asked about whether the government will end the mask-wearing mandate, Lee said that he will consider scrapping the regulation once the winter flu surge has passed.

Header image credits: Cheng-en Cheng via WikiCommons

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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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