Hong Kong Opens, Removes Nearly All Covid Restrictions

Hong Kong has had some of he world’s most extreme measures for foreign arrivals during the pandemic. Those are being mostly scrapped starting Wednesday.

There are still going to be two PCR tests for people arriving in Hong Kong, but those who test negative face basically no restrictions under new rules starting Wednesday, December 14 – no restrictions entering restaurants and other venues for those testing negative. Although vaccination is still required, and proof will be needed.

Even the region’s ‘Leave Home Safe’ app goes away for residents, and mandatory testing will be ‘reduced’ for residential buildings. PCR tests will still be required for hospital and nursing home staff, while antigen tests can be used elsewhere. And PCR tests are being eliminated for travel from Hong Kong to Macau and mainland China.

Data suggests incoming travelers are low risk:

Health minister Lo Chung-mau said separately data gathered in the past month showed a 3.8 per cent infection rate among imported cases, meaning 38 out of 1,000 incoming travellers were found with the virus upon arrival. Only 1.6 per cent of them were found to be infected later – lower than the 2.5 per cent local infection rate.

Travelers will take a PCR test at the airport and then on their third day in Hong Kong, followed by an antigen (rapid) test for five days.

Moreover, Covid-19 positives with mild symptoms are permitted to do 5 days of home isolation, rather than entering a government facility. But don’t show up with bad symptoms! Those still divert to government quarantine centers. And close contacts of positives still need 5 days of home isolation.

This is made possible by mainland China’s reducing restrictions. Hong Kong has turned towards China, and has emphasized the need for connectivity with mainland China rather than the rest of the world.

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