Hong Kong, which has been closed for easy arrivals since early 2020, is finally contemplating introducing quarantine-free entry with PCR-RT tests and health monitoring by early November, when a financial summit is set to place in the city.
Hong Kongers and those wishing to enter the country have been required to go through strict hotel quarantines of variable lengths from 7 to 21 days. However, there have been indications that this may be soon reduced to less than a week.
Here’s what Hong Kong’s new Health Minister told SCMP
Lo said he would still need to examine the latest data on the positive rate in nucleic acid testing (PCR) results submitted on the third day of their hotel stay by overseas arrivals, a requirement just added last week, before he could decide on changes to the quarantine rules. These could entail moving to a “5+2”, “3+4”, or even “0+7” regime, with the numbers denoting days of hotel and home isolation respectively.
Quarantine in November
But the minister said that by the time when a much-anticipated summit of global financiers and top bankers was held on November 1 and 2 by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the word “quarantine” was likely to carry a much different meaning – one that would perhaps include PCR screenings and a ban from high-risk activities such as bar gatherings
Banned Entering Entertainment Venues?
“Is nothing required any more? I think that would be a bit tough. At least PCR testing is needed. But does quarantine have to be confined to a fixed location? … Could it be medical surveillance, plus a yellow code and not appearing in a bar for the first few days? I won’t rule that out. I very much hope to achieve that as well because I like to travel too,” he said.
The issue at this point is that Covid is not going anywhere and will go through the population now or later, and likely several times.
Those who are not vaccinated are 15 to 20 times more likely to die than those who are. If Hong Kongers have not taken one of the readily available jabs by now, it is their personal choice that may lead to unfortunate consequences.
The issue with Hong Kong has been that the leadership has tried to mimic the Mainland approach in hopes of reopening the border with them. They have decided to follow the Mainland and introduce a color-coded health app with real names for identity and quarantine tracking.
It is pretty telling that Hong Kong is contemplating removing quarantine restrictions by early November, when a summit of global financiers and bankers is set to place in the city.
They may as well call off this summit if quarantine for arrivals is still in place. I doubt that financiers and bankers are willing to spend the first few days in a hotel room before being allowed to enter.
So by November, you may not have to do a “quarantine” but cannot enter all venues in the city, such as bars and restaurants? We’ll see, and I would not rush to purchase any tickets that would include entering Hong Kong.