AT LONG LAST

Hong Kong Drops COVID Restrictions on Arrivals, Re-Opens to Travellers

It’s one of the world’s last holdout destinations with severe restrictions on arrivals, but as of Wednesday 14DEC, Hong Kong reopens to incoming travellers.

Hong Kong Tourism Board in Canada shared the good news with Open Jaw Tuesday morning.

The developments remove what had been a huge barrier to travel to the city, which had assigned arrivals an ‘amber’ colour code regardless of testing status, and severely restricted arrivals during the first three days of their stay. The restrictions all but eliminated leisure travel to Hong Kong.  

Even as of 14DEC, measures are still in place that arriving travellers need to follow, but they are relatively minor.  

Arrivals must still be fully vaccinated and test negative, according to an article in the South China Morning Post, but having tested negative, can explore the city, and go to restaurants and other venues.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board points out how this has changed from previous rules, where travellers were prohibited from going to restaurants and other venues where guests remove their masks for the first three days of their stay. After a three-day waiting period and a negative test result, they could then proceed to visit restaurants and bars. The new rules drop the three-day wait.

The HKTB says under the new rules, tourists will need to self-monitor for five days with rapid antigen tests.

And now, all incoming travellers who test negative will be given a ‘blue’ colour code on their health app and can move about the city freely, entering restaurants, bars, museums, theme parks and shopping areas with proof of full vaccination.

Furthermore, travellers heading to mainland China or Macau now no longer require pre-departure COVID tests at points of departure. They only need to complete a PCR test 48 hours before departure.

The move is a giant leap forward for travel to Hong Kong, which has lagged behind other destinations that have been fully reopened for months.

Michael Lim, Director - Canada, Central & South Americas, shared his excitement at the news, “Lots of great news,” he told Open Jaw, “We welcome back our first cruise ship next month and just confirmed four major conventions, too!”

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