Hong Kong Scraps Most COVID Restrictions In Bid To Welcome More Travellers
— 14 December 2022

Hong Kong Scraps Most COVID Restrictions In Bid To Welcome More Travellers

— 14 December 2022
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

After almost three years of harsh COVID-induced lockdowns and some of the tightest entry requirements in the world, Hong Kong is officially open for travellers. With some caveats.

Yes, isolation is still on the cards for those who test positive on arrival, and you’ll still need a PCR test when you land at Hong Kong International Airport, as well as one after 72 hours in the city and a RAT on your fifth day. But many of the territory’s harshest rules are starting to slip away as mainland China abandons its controversial “Zero COVID” policy.

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 risk-exposure app – ‘Leave Home Safe’ – is being scrapped, which is one of the biggest developments pointing toward greater freedoms for international visitors. Before today, arrivals to the city would have their movements restricted for their first 72 hours in Hong Kong with an Amber Health Code under a “0+3” policy, barring them from visiting many restaurants and bars even if they tested negative for COVID on arrival.

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Now visitors who don’t test positive from COVID are able to move around the city without restriction, although currently everyone is still required to wear face masks – even outside – and there is still a ban on gatherings of more than 12 people, as reported by Al Jazeera.

The new approach to COVID-19 comes just in time for the end of the year, with sources confirming to media that they would be followed by even larger changes at the national level in line with the Lunar New Year holiday from January 22.

The “0+3” model, where travellers need to observe three days of medical surveillance regardless of whether they are Covid positive or not, is so far still in place for mainland China. It is, however, an improvement from the previous five days of quarantine required.

Any overseas arrival who tests positive for COVID-19 will still receive a red health code attached to their identity, which requires them to follow all existing isolation protocols. Although infected travellers will no longer be given electronic wristbands

Although Hong Kong is open, you’ll still need to hug your vaccine records quite closely. Proof of vaccination is required to enter all designated venues, and it’s unlikely this will be scrapped anytime soon.

If you want to go somewhere like Macau or mainland China, you’ll need to complete a PCR test 48 hours before leaving. However, you won’t need any pre-departure tests at checkpoints.

The move to loosen Hong Kong COVID restrictions should be welcome for any travellers aching to get back to the city’s swathe of award-winning restaurants and bars. Although it still remains unclear whether or not you’ll still have to navigate the political unrest that has plagued the city for years before the pandemic.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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