Hong Kong tightens airport arrival measures
This comes as the City records more than 100 imported COVID-19 cases over the past fortnight.
The Hong Kong government has adjusted its flight suspension mechanism as imported cases of COVID-19 rose to 115 in the past two weeks.
Undersecretary for Food & Health Chui Tak-yi assured the government’s move for stricter measures balanced the need for people to travel to Hong Kong and control spread of imported COVID-19 cases.
“For reducing the number of imported cases, we have introduced very stringent measures in the fourth wave of the local COVID-19 epidemic progressively, including banning flights from certain countries, extending the quarantine period, and also requiring inbound travelers to stay at designated hotels,” he said.
“I think the Department of Health and the Government decided to modify this flight suspension mechanism to make sure that even though we continue to allow people to come to Hong Kong from certain high-risk countries, there is an appropriate mechanism in place to suspend such flights from coming, in case we see the threat of more imported cases from that particular location."
The tightened measure criteria include:
- three or more (originally five or more) passengers on a passenger flight arriving at Hong Kong confirmed to have COVID-19 by arrival tests
- two or more passengers on any two flights of the same airline from the relevant original port within a seven-day period (originally three or more on two consecutive flights) confirmed to have COVID-19 by arrival tests
The government also said if at least five passengers from all flights coming from the same place were confirmed by arrival tests for COVID-19 with a mutant strain, it will impose a 14-day ban and declare the place as “extremely high risk.”
After the two-week period, it will be downgraded to a “very high risk,” subjecting its passengers to the mandatory 21-day quarantine.
The government will maintain the 21-day quarantine period for persons coming from high-risk places, noting it will adjust quarantine arrangements for persons traveling from extremely high-risk and very high-risk places.
This also comes as the government mulls easing restrictions by cutting the quarantine period for travelers coming from low- to medium-risk countries as well as plans to implement the “vaccine bubble” concept.