Hong Kong has decided to end the hotel quarantine effective September 26, 2022. The quarantine until Monday is 3 days but was up to 21 days before.
There is still a requirement of three days of medical surveillance, during which you cannot visit many establishments such as restaurants, bars, and fitness centers.
There will no longer be a pre-departure PCR-RT test requirement for those wishing to enter Hong Kong, but a rapid antigen test is enough.
Visitors need to be fully vaccinated to enter, and there is soon a third dosage requirement to get the Vaccine Pass, which is required to enter most premises.
All entering Hong Kong will be tested at the border (PCR-RT), but they can leave the airport and continue their business without waiting for the test result.
There are no longer designated quarantine hotels where visitors need to stay first.
Visitors will receive AMBER designation on the government app and cannot enter many establishments until it turns BLUE on the fourth day if the second PCR-RT test is negative.
In addition to the pre-departure rapid antigen test, there is a PCR-RT test on arrival and on days 2, 4, and 6.
If one of the three PCR-RT tests is positive, travelers need to quarantine at their home, hotel, or in a designated government facility (infamous Penny’s Bay).
There is a vaccine pass requirement to enter most facilities, and it requires 3 doses from November 30, 2022.
Foreigners can apply for the vaccine pass online.
But the problem is that you must wait for the Vaccine Pass to turn to Blue before you can enter most premises in the city, such as restaurants and bars. However, you can enter shopping centers, use public transportation, and walk outside.
This is much welcome news for those residing in Hong Kong. They no longer need to quarantine at designated hotels.
This is not a proper reopening for visitors, however.
What is the purpose of going to Hong Kong if you cannot enter premises such as restaurants, bars, or fitness centers for the first four days, which is longer than most visitors spend in the city (3.3 days on average in 2019)?
Then there is also the threat of testing positive in one of the three PCR-RT tests; on arrival and on days 4 and 6 (if you stay six days or longer). You must then quarantine at a hotel or Penny’s Bay detention center (you should choose and pay for the hotel).
My most recent positive covid-case was earlier this year, and it was only found on the pre-departure PCR-RT test (completely asymptomatic).
The on-arrival PCR-RT test in Hong Kong might come back as positive even if your covid case was weeks or even months earlier, as it does not search for the active virus but its DNA. Something to keep in mind.