Oct. 3, 2022
With some of the world’s most stringent anti-pandemic requirements squelching the arrival of overseas travelers for more than two years, Hong Kong opened its doors on Sept. 26, announcing the “lifting of compulsory quarantine requirement on arrival at Hong Kong.”
Arriving travelers will no longer need a negative PCR test before boarding their flight. A new test-and-go protocol will screen them for COVID-19 upon arrival, and officials will not require travelers to wait at the airport for the results.
While waiting for the results of their airport arrival test, travelers must monitor themselves for three days for potential COVID-19 infection at the lodging of their choice. They can use public transportation, but the amber health code for the city’s vaccine pass phone app, issued during their arrival screening, keeps them from entering establishments, such as restaurants, where visitors have to declare their vaccination status.
If their airport arrival test is negative, the amber health code is lifted at the end of the three-day self-monitoring period and they can enter restaurants, bars and similar establishments. There are some additional testing requirements up to day seven.
If travelers test positive, depending on the situation, they will isolate at their hotel or another facility. Officials said the anti-pandemic measures would be further relaxed or redirected based on how conditions evolve.
Flight crews based in Hong Kong will be tested using the same scheme that tests arriving passengers. The Hong Kong government has not yet promulgated testing protocols or restrictions for non-local crews based in Hong Kong.
The new testing system replaces the mandatory three-day quarantine in a designated hotel and four days of home surveillance, with limited citywide movement. It also eliminates the requirement for a negative PCR test before boarding a flight.
Travelers now only need to provide a negative rapid antigen test, which they can self-administer, and provide the results through a digital form 24 hour before boarding their flight to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has updated the crew entry rules to align more closely with the rules for passengers – the main change being the dropping of mandatory hotel quarantine. Crew still need to be vaccinated and take a pre-departure test, but on arrival in Hong Kong they can now take a COVID test (plus several more daily tests after that) and they don’t have to quarantine in the hotel.