Hong Kong stated Tuesday that it will soon announce its controversial Covid-19 hotel quarantine policy to all arrivals. This is to maintain the city’s connection with the rest of world and allow for an “orderly opening up”.
John Lee, the leader of Hong Kong, stated that he was aware that Hong Kong needs to remain competitive and added that authorities are keen to bring back activities and events to the city.
“We know where we need to go and we want to keep moving in the right direction. He said that he would prefer an orderly opening up…because he doesn’t want chaos or confusion.
Hong Kong, following China’s zero-Covid policies, is one of few places around the world that still requires foreigners to quarantine on arrival. However, the timeframe has decreased. Currently, international arrivals are required to pay for three nights in a hotel. Then they must follow that up with four days of self monitoring.
According to sources, the South China Morning Post reported that the hotel section will be removed and replaced by seven days of self monitoring. The current rules of self-monitoring allow people to stay at home, but they must pass tests and have some restrictions on movement.
Other local media reported that the changes could be made this week.
Many residents, diplomats, and business groups have condemned the hotel quarantine rules that were in place since March 2020. They also criticize other Covid restrictions. They claim they are threatening Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center.
These rules have fueled an exodus of expats as well as local families. It was sparked by Beijing’s attempts to limit freedoms and exert control over the former British colony. According to government statistics, 113,000 people have fled since mid-2021.
These rules have forced many airlines to cancel or postpone dozens of flights to and from Hong Kong, which once had one of the busiest airports in the world.
Singapore, a rival financial hub, hosts a series of high-profile conferences that will see a boom in business for both hotels and restaurants.
Hong Kong plans to host an international Rugby Sevens and a major finance conference in November as part of its efforts at getting business back on track. According to bankers, attending the conference requires that you travel quarantine-free.
It is not clear if other restrictions on Covid will be eased. Hong Kong bans public groups with more than four members and masks are required for children under two years old.