Hong Kong relaxes COVID quarantine rules for vaccinated inbound travelers

Hong Kong relaxes COVID quarantine rules for vaccinated inbound travelers

Hong Kong will relax its quarantine restrictions, including shorter quarantine times for people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, under a new set of rules released on Friday by health authorities.

The new measure will take effect at midnight on May 12 if there is no major worsening of the local and global outbreak, Thomas Chan, the city’s Permanent Secretary for Food and Health, announced.

The mandatory quarantine period will be reduced from 14 to seven days for fully vaccinated travelers from low-risk areas including mainland China, Macao, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. They will be required to self-monitor for the following seven days, and be tested for COVID-19 on the 12th day after arrival.

Fully vaccinated travelers returning from mainland China, Macao and Taiwan will be subject to mandatory testing on the third, fifth and 12th days after arrival. Others will be required to get tested on the 12th, 16th and 19th days.

Quarantine will be reduced to 14 days for travelers from medium and high-risk areas countries, including Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

They will need a further week of self-monitoring, and must get tested for COVID-19 on the third, seventh, 12th, 16th, 19th and 26th days after arrival.

Chan said that despite the easing of quarantine requirements, inspections will remain as frequent as before, to prevent any cases from being imported.

But mandatory 21-day quarantines and other entry requirements and bans will remain in place for arrivals from extremely high-risk and very high-risk areas such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Ireland and the United Kingdom, Chan said.

The new relaxed rules were introduced even though Singapore announced fresh COVID-19 restrictions following a recent spike in infections in the city-state, whose government has said it plans to review its proposed travel bubble with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong will accept vaccines approved by the World Health Organization and by mainland Chinese health authorities for emergency use, said Chan.

For the time being, those include the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines.

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