In a press conference today, Friday, September 23, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee announced that the Special Administrative Region (SAR) will abolish hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals and implement a ‘0+3’ system.
This means that people heading to Hong Kong from abroad or the Chinese mainland will not need to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine, but instead three days of health monitoring at home.
During the three days of at-home monitoring, your health code will be amber and you will conduct three rapid antigen tests. Codes will only turn blue when you have completed your third test.
Unlike on the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong an amber code on the “Leave Home Safe” app (Hong Kong’s health code) still allows people to use public transport, go to the office and shop at markets and malls.
However, an amber code does not allow people to partake in any activity where a mask isn’t required, such as gyms, restaurants and bars.
During the press conference, Lee also announced that plane passengers will not need to undergo a nucleic acid test (throat swab) 48 hours before departure, but instead conduct a rapid antigen test 24 hours before departure.
Other announcements made include: Hong Kong residents who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 can return to the SAR; and there will be no limits on the number of people who can return to Hong Kong (including the Chinese mainland and Macau).
If new arrivals to the SAR test positive, they will be quarantined, either in a facility or in an isolation hotel.
People traveling to the region without a fixed abode can stay in any hotel in the city and engage in any activities where a yellow code is permitted.
In August, Hong Kong adjusted its arrival policy to '4+3,' a move that saw a 20% increase in inbound travel to the region.
So, what does this mean for us on the Chinese mainland?
Well sadly, not very much.
If you go to Hong Kong, you won’t have to quarantine… but you will on the way back.
The Chinese mainland currently requires arrivals from Hong Kong and overseas to undergo seven days of quarantine in an isolation hotel and three days of self-monitoring at home.
[Cover image via Pixabay]