Scrapping of Hong Kong's Hotel Quarantine

Beijing Official Gives Nod To Scrapping of Hong Kong’s Hotel Quarantine

HONG KONG – A senior state official of mainland China has given support to the city’s plan to replace hotel quarantine with less stringent curbs, reported the South China Morning Post on Tuesday afternoon (20 September, SGT).

After Hong Kong’s leader John Lee Ka-chiu pledged to create “maximum room” for the Chinese territory to reconnect with the rest of the world, Deputy Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Huang Liuquan said during a Tuesday media conference that Hong Kong doesn’t have to choose between opening up to mainland China or with other countries.

Notably, Lee and Hong Kong’s former CEO Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor have been caught between calls to reopen the city’s borders with other countries or with mainland China, which continues to implement a zero-COVID strategy significantly different from other nations.

But with the city’s daily COVID cases falling, the authorities are under pressure to remove harsh hotel quarantine rules for inbound travellers as other countries across Asia Pacific open up.

At present, Hong Kong is implementing a “3+4” quarantine arrangement, which mandates all inbound travellers who test negative upon landing to undergo 3 days of hotel quarantine, followed by 4 days of home medical surveillance, but with limited movement across the city.

Sources told SCMP that Lee’s government had reached a consensus on Monday to replace the prevailing system with a 7 days of home medical surveillance, representing the city’s 1st move to finally reopen to the rest of globe.

In a Monday article penned by four medical experts, including top microbiologist and government adviser Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, they said that it’s a fact that the virus had become endemic in Hong Kong.

Moreover, the city has already built a “strong shield” against severe complications via vaccination and natural infections. Hence, they argued that it was time to replace hotel isolation with the new scheme.

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