Coronavirus: HK to overhaul entry rules and streamline five-tier travel system

03-Aug-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 7:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong will overhaul its entry rules and streamline its five-tier travel system into three, with more perks handed out to people vaccinated against Covid-19, including allowing residents to return from high-risk countries and letting in visitors from medium-risk places.

A government source told the Post a new top tier of high-risk countries would comprise those currently listed as extremely high-risk and very high-risk, meaning flight bans on Britain, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines, among others, could be lifted.

The insider said places currently deemed as high and medium risk would be merged into a new medium-risk category. It would cover most countries, including the United States, France, Germany and Japan.

Ministers on Monday also announced a three-tier quarantine regime for arrivals, with the toughest 21 days in a designated hotel to remain for those from high-risk countries, while unvaccinated travellers would have to isolate for seven days more than their vaccinated counterparts.

“With 56 days now without any local cases, we have basically achieved the goal of zero infections in the community,” city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said as she unveiled the new policies flanked by several top ministers.

“The fourth wave has ended, but we can only relax [our policies] prudently based on vaccination,” she said, adding that while Hong Kong had eliminated the virus locally, the world was seeing a rebound mostly driven by the more transmissible Delta variant. Hong Kong confirmed three imported infections on Monday.

As of the end of last month, the city had recorded 489 cases suspected to involve a Covid-19 variant, while 108 of them were confirmed to be Delta, Lam said. Most of these cases were imported, and none sparked a widespread outbreak in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong also inched closer to having half of its population inoculated, with 47.9 per cent of residents aged 12 years and above having received their first dose, Lam said.

Meanwhile, full-day classes at Hong Kong schools can resume as early as next month if at least 70 per cent of students and teachers have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

More to follow…


Category: Hong Kong

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