What is required to travel to Hong Kong? Many, many tests

Travelers headed to Hong Kong not want to quarantine in a lodge upon arrival.

But they’ll have to submit to a barrage of Covid tests.

They can go to work, take public transportation and go to supermarkets, however for the primary three days, vacationers cannot go into “high-risk premises” comparable to eating places, bars and gymnasiums.

Visitors who plan an eight-day journey should take 12 tests — 4 PCR and eight fast antigen tests — which averages to 1.5 tests per day.

Moreover, those that check optimistic should isolate in a neighborhood facility for at the least every week.

Still, the relaxed guidelines are welcome information to town’s residents, who’ve endured lodge quarantine restrictions of up to three weeks at numerous factors throughout the pandemic.

The information got here the day after Hong Kong misplaced its No. 3 rating on the The Global Financial Centres Index, ceding its place to Singapore, which climbed three locations — surpassing Hong Kong and Shanghai — to turn out to be Asia’s prime financial heart.

The new guidelines

The new guidelines, efficient Monday, require that earlier than departing, vacationers should:

  • Test unfavorable by way of a self-administered fast antigen check
  • Report the check lead to a web-based well being declaration
  • Obtain a well being declaration QR code to be introduced earlier than departing and upon arrival
  • Be vaccinated to enter, or have a medical exemption certificates (if a non-resident and aged 12 or older)

After arriving, vacationers should:

  • Take a PCR check on the airport, then once more on days 2, 4 and 6 (the arrival date is day 0)
  • Take day by day fast antigen tests from days 1 to 7
  • Submit to three days of medical surveillance, throughout which era they need to keep away from locations like eating places, nightclubs and salons
  • Follow a four-day self-monitoring interval

A rush to go away, much less curiosity to enter

Friday’s announcement spurred a surge of outbound flight curiosity, in accordance to the travel reserving firm Expedia.

Flight searches from Hong Kong to Japan noticed a 10-fold enhance within the three days following the announcement, in contrast to the week prior, whereas flight searches to Taiwan noticed a 12-fold enhance throughout the identical time interval, in accordance to Expedia.

The prime flight searches by Hong Kong vacationers on Expedia over the weekend had been to:

  1. Osaka, Japan 
  2. Tokyo, Japan 
  3. Seoul, South Korea
  4. Bangkok, Thailand 
  5. Sapporo, Japan 
  6. Taipei, Taiwan 
  7. Taichung, Taiwan 
  8. Singapore 
  9. Fukuoka, Japan 
  10. London, United Kingdom  

However, travel curiosity to Hong Kong was far more tepid.

Expedia’s search information for lodging in Hong Kong elevated 50% over the weekend, in contrast to the week earlier than the announcement.

Interest in going to Hong Kong wasn’t dominated by regional vacationers both. The United Kingdom, Canada and the United States had been the highest inbound markets, in accordance to Expedia’s flight search information.

Pang Yiu-kai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, acknowledged on Tuesday that the eased guidelines are “expected to initially attract mainly business travelers, family visitors and returning Hong Kong residents.”

A step ahead, but nonetheless behind the occasions

Scrapping lodge quarantines is a “step forward,” stated Joseph Armas, government director of Hong Kong’s American Chamber of Commerce.

But to actually increase town’s tourism and hospitality sector, Armas stated the remaining laws want to be eliminated.

Ending Hong Kong's hotel quarantine is a step forward for tourism sector: AmCham Hong Kong

Japan is a current instance of a rule-laden reopening technique that drew far fewer vacationers than anticipated.

Japan introduced Thursday vacationers can be allowed to travel freely by means of the nation beginning Oct. 11, ending restrictions that had been stated to be complicated vacationers probably the most. That similar day, flight searches to Japan nearly doubled, in accordance to Expedia’s information.

Regina Ip, convenor of the Hong Kong Executive Council, stated the “next logical step” for Hong Kong is to take away the three days of medical supervision that prohibits vacationers from eating in eating places.

Ip stated she expects measures to be additional relaxed subsequent month after Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee delivers his coverage tackle on Oct. 19.

Prelude to China’s reopening?

The easing of Covid-19 measures in Hong Kong spurred hope amongst residents of China that they may quickly see relaxed guidelines as nicely.

China’s borders have been shut since March of 2020, because the pandemic unfold globally.

Currently, vacationers coming into the nation should quarantine at a centralized facility — comparable to a lodge — for seven days, adopted by a further three days at residence earlier than going out.

“Many of the businesses and residents in Hong Kong rely on the mainland, and that travel back and forth is critical to their businesses,” Armas advised CNBC’s “Squawkbox Asia” on Monday.

Hong Kong's Covid restrictions could be eased further next month, says official

Although it looks like there’s mild on the finish of the tunnel, China is unlikely to see “significant easing” of Covid measures till subsequent spring, stated Andrew Tilton, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Goldman Sachs.

The aged in China nonetheless want “a round of booster shots” and the federal government would need to guarantee it has sufficient remedy, ought to one other Covid wave happen after the nation reopens, he stated.

“China is a big country. We are only one city … I’m not sure our approach could be applied to the entire country,” stated Ip.

There might be some excellent news for residents in China although.

After nearly three years, Macao is set to reopen its borders to vacationers from China within the coming weeks, Reuters reported.

The world’s largest playing hub has been badly hit by China’s zero-Covid coverage, as its “main customer flows” come from the mainland, stated Matthew Ossolinski, chairman of Ossolinski Holdings. When borders between China and Macao reopen, “it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a stampede or a trickle, but there’s an enormous amount of pent-up demand,” he added.

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