On June 21, the Hong Kong government announced that inbound travellers who have stayed in medium-risk (Group B) and lower places will have their quarantine periods shortened from 14/21 days to seven days. Three conditions must be met: full vaccination (with the second dose administered at least two weeks before arriving), proof of a positive serology test, and a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test upon arrival. The requirements for travellers from high-risk and very high-risk countries (Groups A1 & A2) will not change.
After the seven-day quarantine, travellers will be expected to do at-home self-monitoring, limiting their social contact.
This new rule will come into effect for H.K. residents on June 30 and non-residents sometime in July.
Travellers who want to have their quarantines shortened must obtain serology test results from approved labs in their countries of origin, but the government isn’t accepting results from overseas labs yet. It has already released the list of approved labs in Hong Kong.
In July, the government plans to implement serology testing at HKO upon arrival, at the traveller’s expense.
Positive antibody tests are valid for travel for three months.
Globally, quarantine periods are being shortened and lockdown restrictions easing as the number of vaccinated people rises. To wit, starting June 17 Singapore will shorten its quarantine period from 21 to 14 days even for high risk travellers, citing that all imported cases detected since early May have had anincubation period well within two weeks.
Why a serology test?
Serology tests draw a bit of blood to look for antibodies which are produced as part of the body’s immune response to infection. If your test shows positive, it means that you’ve either had Covid-19 or your body has produced the antibodies after you got vaccinated. Hong Kong is taking this test as an indication of effective vaccination. However, it is yet to be fully understood whether or not someone can get reinfected if they have already had Covid-19 or how long potential immunity lasts.