Nine more hotels have been added to the list of government-approved designated quarantine hotels (DQHs). These hotels were previously used as community isolation facilities (CIFs) to accommodate people who tested positive for Covid-19 within the community. These nine hotels will begin accepting bookings for inbound travellers from overseas early this month.
This development comes after the government announced that non-Hong Kong residents can enter the city from May 1. However, they must be fully vaccinated, test negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of their departure to the SAR, undergo a PCR and rapid antigen test (RAT) upon arrival, and stay at a DQH for at least seven days.
The new hotels will be added to the list of 7th cycle of DQHs, which will accept bookings until July 31, 2022, and will provide approximately 4,000 additional rooms for international arrivals. This also means that there are now four CIFs remaining in Hong Kong.
Since the government has also revised the criteria for suspending flights from specific routes starting May 1, the authorities will also adjust quarantine and testing requirements for aircrew:
- Aircrew on short layovers: These crew members will not enter the community under a closed-loop arrangement. They need to produce a negative pre-departure RAT result, use a dedicated channel in the Hong Kong International Airport when they arrive there, and take designated point-to-point transport to an airport hotel assigned to aircrew under these arrangements. They must self-isolate at the hotel during their stay in Hong Kong and leave the city using the same transport and channel.
- Local passenger crew: Hong Kong-based passenger crew must self-isolate in a designated quarantine hotel and can leave if they test negative for Covid-19 on a PCR test on Day 3 after their return to the city.
- Local cargo crew: These crew members must produce a negative PCR test upon arrival at the airport, after which they can return home. They do not need to quarantine at a hotel or isolate at home.
Local passenger and cargo crew must undergo several PCR tests until Day 14 after their return to Hong Kong, as well as daily RATs. They must also keep their masks on in public places, avoid going to crowded places and mass gatherings, and track of their activities until Day 7 after their arrival in the city.
Previously, all aircrew irrespective of whether they were based in Hong Kong or not, had to undergo a PCR test at the airport if they disembarked in the city. This led to instances of overseas-based pilots undergoing quarantine at Penny’s Bay. After this, several European airlines stopped flying directly into Hong Kong to prevent their crew from being stranded in the city.