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Gov't to end flight ban on 9 countries on 1 April

Hong Kong will also shorten the hotel quarantine period for arrivals.

The Hong Kong government will lift flight suspensions on nine countries as well as cut the hotel quarantine period for inbound travellers starting 1 April, Chief Executive Carrie Lam bared.

In a news conference, Lam said the place-specific flight ban from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK, US, and Nepal will be lifted because the suspension “is out of time” and has been causing anxiety to Hong Kong people stranded overseas.

Lam also took issue with the stricter quarantine requirements enforced on arrivals than local COVID-19 patients or close contacts due to its impact on the city’s businesses.

Aside from the suspension, Lam declared that beginning 1 April, only fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents can board a flight for Hong Kong. They must also hold a negative result of 

PCR test was taken within 48 hours before boarding and a confirmation of a room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel (DQH) for at least seven nights.

Upon arrival, they must undertake a rapid PCR-based nucleic acid test. After testing negative, they will then be issued with a 14-day quarantine order and moved to the DQH.

During the quarantine period, daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be conducted and a PCR-based nucleic acid test will be done on the fourth and 12th days.

If the results on the day five PCR test and days six and seven RATs are all negative, they may choose to have early discharge from the DQH, then undertake a seven-day self-monitoring and receive the aforementioned PCR test on the 12th day at a community testing centre.

But if they opt to stay in the DQH throughout the 14-day quarantine period, a PCR test will be conducted in the DQH on day 12. Once they receive a negative result, they can leave the DQH on the 14th day.

If travellers tested positive in any of these virus tests upon arriving in Hong Kong, they will receive an isolation order and be transferred to a community isolation hotel. The isolation and discharge requirements will be similar for local COVID-19 patients.

Flag carrier Cathay Pacific, for its part, said it is actively working to resume more flights next month whilst also making sure to reduce inconvenience to customers affected by any flight-specific suspension.

Cathay Pacific also said it will only schedule one flight per route every 14 days to prevent any unplanned disruptions to their passengers that would affect quarantine hotel and other arrangements.

“We are fully committed to keeping all vital connections, and the flow of people and goods between Hong Kong and the rest of the world moving, and to upholding Hong Kong’s international aviation hub status, just as we have over the past many decades,” Cathay Pacific also said in a separate statement.

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