Non-Hong Kong residents from the Chinese mainland will be exempted from a 14-day quarantine and COVID-19 vaccination requirement upon entering Hong Kong, starting from mid-May.
The scheme was announced by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), on April 12. But the HKSAR government's scheme will require travelers to submit an online application, and they must also possess a negative COVID-19 test certificate.
The "Return2HK" travel scheme, which exempts Hong Kong residents returning from Guangdong province or the Macao SAR from a 14-day quarantine, will be expanded to other mainland provinces, according to the government. This policy will come into force in late April.
From mid-May, non-Hong Kong residents from the Chinese mainland are to be exempted from a 14-day quarantine and COVID-19 vaccination requirement upon entering Hong Kong. [Photo/WeChat account: GZWS411665430]
Furthermore, travelers who have been vaccinated and come from countries and regions deemed as low risk for COVID-19 infections - such as New Zealand, Australia and Singapore - will be subjected to a seven-day quarantine or less upon arrival, compared with the current 14-day isolation requirement.
The period of mandatory quarantine for inbound arrivals from medium-risk countries and regions, if they are vaccinated, could be shortened to 14 days or less, as compared to the current 21 days. The government is working on the details and will announce this relaxation in due course.
Hong Kong is expected to lift its travel ban for air passengers from the United Kingdom in early May, while retaining its virus test and 21-day mandatory isolation imposed on these travelers, Lam said.
Tightened restrictions, however, have been announced on incoming flights, according to Sophia Chan, secretary for Food and Health for the HKSAR government. As per the latest rule, over a period of seven days, if a certain number of passengers on a Hong Kong-bound flight are confirmed as having COVID-19, with all variants of the coronavirus involved, all flights from that region, whether run by the same carrier or not, will be prohibited to enter Hong Kong for 14 days.
The existing social distancing measures, due to expire on April 15 in Hong Kong, will be extended for another 14 days, while plans to ease such measures - such as extending dining hours in restaurants and raising caps on diners per table provided that staff and customers are vaccinated - are also noted.
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