Hong Kong will waive international travel restrictions of more than 900 days

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Under the new law, which will come into effect on September 26, incoming travelers will be required to undergo three days of surveillance upon arrival.

Hong Kong’s government has faced intense pressure from the business community and some public health officials to ease restrictions amid a weakened economy, an influx of foreigners and the lagging financial center once known as the “City of Asia.” The rest of the world was spared the plague.
Questions about when the city will lift restrictions have been seen as two major international events, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament and the World Bank Conference scheduled for November, are seen as a way to revive the beleaguered city. With pro-democracy protests and Beijing’s crackdown on civil liberties in recent years.
While various governments have introduced border controls since the outbreak, most have rolled back the measures, including Singapore, which is battling with Hong Kong to attract foreign trade and talent.
But like other international hubs, Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies have been closely aligned with mainland China’s, with Beijing maintaining a strict zero-covid policy and border isolation, with no signs of a peak in eradicating the infection. Prioritize them.

Calls for a loosening of international border controls under Lee’s predecessor, Carrie Lam, who left office on June 30, have been hampered by competing demands to open up independent free travel to the mainland – a proposal that has yet to be implemented.

On September 20, Beijing’s support for Hong Kong came as a public sign of a new policy path. Huang Liquan, deputy head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said the Hong Kong government has been coordinating policies and making adjustments in line with local conditions. No need to “over-interpret”.

While Hong Kong’s new policy for international migrants may not be a major policy change anytime soon, it is a sign of the different conditions on each side of the border.

Although the city kept environmental issues to a minimum during the first two years of the outbreak, Hong Kong experienced a highly contagious micron-diffusion outbreak earlier this year and has not revived its zero-Covid status since then. Instead, the city continues to be in the midst of hundreds and thousands of daily cases. According to official reports, more than 1.7 million cases have been reported in the city of 7.4 million, although experts believe the true number is higher.

In mainland China, by contrast, much of the country is not susceptible to the virus — a concern for health officials who fear the burden of the disease could put its population at a disadvantage when it comes to natural defenses against infection. Wide spread across the health care system.

Hong Kong's Bet on Zero-Covid.  right now

Hong Kong’s new measures come 900 days after the city first imposed border restrictions in March 2020 and two years after ordering hotel quarantines for all international arrivals in December 2020. At its longest, the quarantine period extends to 21 days. Travelers who tested positive during quarantine were taken to designated facilities, including sometimes government-run camps.

As Covid-19 vaccines became more widespread, local case numbers rose and places with similar systems like New Zealand and Australia opened their borders, the program became more controversial among the public.

A shortage of hotel rooms and limited flights this winter has sparked public outrage as travelers risk being stranded outside the city until free rooms open up if their travel schedules are disrupted, such as by contracting Covid-19 or their flight schedules.

Some restrictions have been lifted in recent months. In May, non-Hong Kong residents were allowed to enter the overseas city for the first time in more than two years, after a ban on certain flights with Covid-positive passengers was lifted in July.

Earlier this summer, the Lee administration reduced quarantine from one week to three days, with an additional four days of health monitoring, during which arrivals are not allowed to go to bars, gyms and restaurants.

But hotel quarantines and pre-flight check-in requirements were seen as remaining significant barriers to travel to the city, and questions remain over what role the new plan will play in revitalizing the city’s once-vibrant tourism industry.



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