Hong Kong will scrap its controversial COVID-19 hotel quarantine policy for all arrivals from early October, more than 2-1/2 years after it was first adopted, news portal HK01 said on Thursday, citing unidentified sources.
The move is set to be announced next week, it added.
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The city’s leader, John Lee, said this week he wanted to keep the city connected with the rest of the world and allow an “orderly opening-up” but did not specify exactly when the quarantine policy would be changed.
Taking its cues from China which is pursuing a zero-COVID policy, Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world to still require travellers from abroad to quarantine upon arrival although the length of quarantine has eased over time.
Hong Kong residents and businesses have slammed the policy, saying it and other strict COVID rules threaten the city’s competitiveness and standing as a global financial centre.
Currently, arrivals must pay for three days in a hotel and follow that with four days of self-monitoring. The new rules will abolish the need for arrivals from overseas to do quarantine at designated hotels. Residents will be able to go straight home and self monitor for seven days, HK01 said.
Currently people who are required to self monitor are allowed to move around the city although there are some limits on the types of places they can access.
Hong Kong still bans public groups of more than four people and masks are mandatory, even for children as young as two.