Hong Kong to tighten COVID-19 rules, seeks to open to China

Hong Kong will tighten COVID-19 restrictions despite its lack of outbreaks to align with China’s policies and increase chances of quarantine-free travel between the territory and mainland

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 26 October 2021 05:44
Hong Kong Carrie Lam
Hong Kong Carrie Lam

Hong Kong will tighten COVID-19 restrictions despite a lack of local outbreaks to better align with China’s policies and increase chances of quarantine-free travel between the territory and mainland, leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday.

It will step up contact tracing, such as requiring the use of its LeaveHomeSafe app in government premises to record the coming and going of visitors. It will also tighten quarantine rules to exempt only emergency workers or those in essential industries such as logistics. Currently, those exempt from quarantine include airline crew, banking and insurance executives, directors of public companies, as well as crew members on cargo and passenger ships, among others.

Hong Kong has not had a major local outbreak since the beginning of the year, with virtually no local transmission in recent months. But it is largely closed to international travel, and travelers from countries deemed high-risk such as the U.S. must serve a 21-day quarantine.

Authorities say resuming quarantine-free travel with the mainland is the top priority, compared to reopening travel internationally.

Lam said tightening restrictions to be “more in line with mainland practices” is necessary to give Chinese authorities confidence to resume quarantine-free cross-boundary travel.

“If Hong Kong were to loosen the border controls for people arriving from overseas or adopt what other countries have done … to live with the COVID-19 virus, then the chances of resuming travel with the mainland will be reduced,” she said at a weekly news conference where she wore a brace after recently breaking her arm.

She dismissed concerns that Hong Kong’s restrictions will make it less attractive as an international business hub. “Hong Kong’s primary advantage lies in being the gateway to the mainland of China ” she said.

The mainland government has maintained a zero-tolerance policy toward the pandemic, using lockdowns, quarantines and compulsory testing to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks quickly.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in