During the past week, the Hong Kong government announced several changes to its three-tier categorisation of countries’ Covid-19 risk over concerns of the Omicron variant. Starting November 27, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe were recategorised as Group A, or high-risk, countries, followed by Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia starting November 30.

With this mass recategorisation, non-Hong Kong residents from these countries will no longer be allowed to enter the SAR. Inbound residents must be fully vaccinated and undergo 21 days’ quarantine.

The above-mentioned 12 countries will be subject to stricter surveillance requirements than other Group A places. That is, all arrivals from these African nations must now isolate for seven days at Penny’s Bay, getting daily Covid tests. They must then complete 14 days’ isolation at a government-designated quarantine hotel.

Hong Kong authorities have also stated that starting from midnight today, December 2, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel and Italy will be moved from the Group B, or medium-risk, category to Group A.

The list will expand to include Japan, Portugal and Sweden starting midnight on December 3.

Again, non-residents won’t be able to enter from these countries. Vaccinated residents will have to undergo 21 days’ mandatory hotel quarantine instead of 14.

Meanwhile, British Airways suspended flights to Hong Kong this week after crew members were quarantined at Penny’s Bay after two of them tested positive for Covid-19. The airline made the decision to prevent its pilots and cabin crew from being stranded in the SAR in the event that they test positive for the virus.

Header image credits: GovHK

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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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