Hong Kong will eliminate its mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine and ease testing rules next week, ending one of the last strict pandemic-era travel quarantine measures left in the world.
Starting Sept. 26, overseas travelers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will no longer need to quarantine in a hotel, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The policy has been in place for more than two years.
Instead, the city will implement a “0+3” policy in which travelers must self monitor for symptoms for three days and can do so from home, CNN reported. They will be able to go outside during this time but restricted from certain places like bars and restaurants.
The city will also end the requirement to undergo a PCR test before boarding a flight, instead requiring a rapid antigen test 24 hours before someone boards. Travelers will also need to undergo a PCR test on day 2, day 4 and day 6 after their arrival as well as undergo a rapid antigen test each day for seven days.
“The new arrangements mark Hong Kong’s re-opening as a tourism gateway with significant international connections. This is expected to initially attract mainly business travellers, family visitors and returning Hong Kong residents,” Dr. Pang Yiu-kai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said in a statement. “The new arrangements will allow greater convenience and flexibility for travellers.”
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee cited the city’s stabilizing infection numbers as a reason for the relaxed entry rules, according to CNN.
“We hope to give the maximum room to reconnect Hong Kong, and to revitalize our economy,” Lee said.
The new measures come on the heels of nearby Japan’s decision to begin welcoming independent travelers again on Oct. 11. Japan will also lift its daily cap on the number of arriving visitors. Currently, travelers can visit Japan, but are only allowed with a state-recognized travel agency.