Hong Kong does a U-turn, reverts to 21-day quarantine for high-risk countries

PHOTO: Flickr/Jonathan Kramer

Hong Kong has backtracked on a reduction in mandatory quarantine from 21 days to 7, just 2 months after it was introduced. According to a Bloomberg report, the U-turn has seen the city’s quarantine facilities inundated with enquiries from anxious travellers trying to change their bookings.

“The Ovolo Hotels’ switchboard was swamped with calls. The operator of 2 facilities in the city’s mandatory quarantine programme also got more than 850 emails, as frantic travellers sought to adjust their bookings.”

While the mandatory quarantine period for fully vaccinated arrivals from low-risk countries is still 7 days, that rises to 14 for the unvaccinated. New Zealand is currently the only country on the low-risk list, although Hong Kong officials will no doubt be monitoring developments there as the country went into lockdown following the discovery of a Delta variant cluster.

Meanwhile, only fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents are permitted to board flights from countries on the “high-risk” list, which includes Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Residents arriving from any of those countries are subject to mandatory quarantine of 21 days and will have to take 6 Covid-19 tests during that period. Following their release, they will need to self-monitor for a further 7 days and take another test 26 days after their arrival.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says quarantine decisions are based on expert advice from the Centre for Health Protection, which recommends a minimum quarantine of 14 days, even for fully vaccinated arrivals and those with Covid-19 antibodies. That rises to 21 days for arrivals from high-risk countries.

Hong Kong has recorded 12,048 cases and 212 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

SOURCE: TTR Weekly | Bloomberg

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Maya Taylor

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