Hong Kong Mules quarantine-free travel


Since the beginning of the epidemic, Hong Kong has adopted a “zero COVID” strategy to control the epidemic, despite several massive waves of infection. Hong Kong continues to quarantine visitors, but could that finally change?

Hong Kong may lift isolation by November.

According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Health Secretary Lo Chung-maw hinted that Hong Kong would like to end its isolation by the end of this year.

Hong Kong has been gradually easing travel restrictions in recent months, but still requires all visitors to stay at one facility for a week, which is a deal-breaker for most visitors. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is hosting a major international meeting in early November 2022, and Hong Kong is apparently looking to change its quarantine requirements before then.

Hong Kong may waive quarantine at the moment, requiring screening instead, and possibly placing restrictions on where you can go during your first few days. As the Secretary of Health explained:

“Doesn’t need anything anymore? I think that’s a bit harsh. At least a PCR test is needed, but should quarantine only be confined to a fixed location? Medical supervision, as well as code yellow and maybe invisible in the bar for the first few days? I wouldn’t rule that out. I really hope I can do that because Because I also like to travel.

Even before November, Hong Kong is considering changing the mandatory quarantine period. While institutional isolation is currently required, we could see travelers being able to partially isolate at home instead, which would be at least less expensive and more convenient.

Could Hong Kong be opened to independent travel later this year?

This is a step in the right direction, but…

Hong Kong has been making some positive changes in recent months regarding travel restrictions, from ending flight bans, to ending bans on transit passengers, to allowing visitors in (in moderation).

However, there is still a lot of easing of restrictions before Hong Kong becomes a destination for people to visit again. At this point, even the countries that initially took the most stringent measures to contain the coronavirus have moved into the “time to live with the virus” epidemic phase. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have dramatically lifted travel restrictions despite initially closing borders for long periods.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong and mainland China are among the most stringent travel restrictions. Hong Kong says China’s “one country, two systems” policy allows Hong Kong to have its own coronavirus laws without overruling mainland China.

Hong Kong must decide whether or not it wants to continue its zero-tolerance approach to the coronavirus. If so, neutral-free travel is probably not realistic, and restrictions should be much tighter.

The coronavirus is not going anywhere, so the question must be whether Hong Kong can sustain this trend in the long term and remain closed off from the rest of the world.

The best we can do at this point is to encourage people to get vaccinated and encouraged, to have access to treatments that reduce mortality, to isolate people if they don’t feel well, to encourage exposure. For people to be careful, etc.

I don’t see how Hong Kong’s strategy of maintaining zero-coronavirus will work while trying to reopen.

Will Hong Kong break its zero-covid approach?

at last

Hong Kong’s health secretary has suggested that we could see free travel by the end of this year. In particular, we could see the quarantine requirement lifted in November, with travelers having to be screened instead, possibly in high-risk areas, etc.

This is still far from a sure bet, but things at least seem to be moving in the right direction, albeit at a glacial pace…

Do you think we’ll see Hong Kong introduce quarantine-free travel this year?

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