Coronavirus: scramble for HK quarantine rooms leaves several hotels fully booked for first two weeks of December

21-Oct-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Several of Hong Kong’s designated hotels for coronavirus quarantine were on Wednesday already fully booked for the first two weeks of December, even with the government boosting capacity by 1,500 rooms.

Waiting lists started forming a fortnight ago at higher-end hotels and were continuing to grow as demand for the run-up to the Christmas holiday season far outstripped supply, while one establishment reported no availability at all until February next year.

The scramble for rooms followed Hong Kong authorities on Tuesday publishing their latest list of approved hotels under the compulsory quarantine scheme for arrivals to the city.

A total of 40 hotels will provide about 11,500 rooms a 15 per cent increase on the current level for the period between December 1 and February 28, which covers the busy Christmas season as well as Lunar New Year.

Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said that mid and high-range hotels were proving the most sought after, which he attributed to people looking for extra comfort given that many travellers would have to undergo 21 days of mandatory confinement.

“We heard that demand for these types of hotels are higher. After all, people would rather spend some money for a better service,” he said.

Yiu said the government was holding back about 1,000 rooms, which would be released if the large volume of bookings continued for December.

He forecast that more people would return to Hong Kong for the Christmas holidays with the city managing to keep the coronavirus largely at bay.

Hong Kong confirmed four Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, all imported and involving three helpers from Indonesia and the Philippines and a traveller from Singapore.

The city’s tally of confirmed infections stood at 12,305, with 213 related deaths. Fewer than five people tested preliminary-positive.

Hong Kong authorities on Tuesday added five hotels to the approved list of quarantine facilities, increasing the number of rooms from 10,000 to 11,150 from December 1.

A Post reporter on Wednesday tried to contact all 40 hotels on the new list to inquire about availability based on two people needing to complete 21 days of quarantine on their arrival from a country deemed high risk for the coronavirus.

About 10 of the hotels responding to inquiries said reservations were not possible until after December 13 at the earliest.

They include higher-end establishments such as Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Central, which has no availability before December 13, and Four Points by Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung, which only offers bookings after December 23.

Kerry Hotel, CM+ Hotels & Serviced Apartments, One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences, Ovolo Southside and Ovolo Central were similarly found to be fully booked over the first two weeks of December, according to reports on Facebook quarantine support groups.

A number of mid-range hotels were also fully booked over the first couple of weeks of December.

Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island, which has rooms starting from HK$1,290 per night, was only offering 21-day quarantine starting from December 13.

Eco Tree Hotel Causeway Bay, which charges from HK$590, did not have any rooms before December 16. The nearest date for staying at Lan Kwai Fong Hotel at Kau U Fong is December 17. Rooms there per night cost anywhere between HK$990 and HK$5,580.

The most extreme example was the One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences, which said it was fully booked and could not cater for any other guests until after January 31, 2022, according to an email seen by the Post.

Half of the designated quarantine hotels operating from December 1 did not pick up the phone to Post inquiries. Only four of the hotels contacted said they had availability for three weeks of quarantine from that date.

The five newly added hotels iClub Fortress Hill Hotel, O’Hotel in Kowloon City, Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West (Tower 1), Lanson Place Causeway Bay and Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong started fielding inquiries and taking reservations by phone or email on Wednesday.

Hong Kong has required travellers to stay at selected hotels since December last year, with authorities updating the government-approved list every three months.

Meanwhile, 17 people from a residential block at Golden Glory Court in Sha Tin were found to have violated a mandatory testing order during official inspections on Wednesday morning.

The building was subjected to a mandatory testing order earlier this month in response to a resident an airport cargo handler testing positive for the coronavirus.

Testing records of about 340 people in the tower block were checked during the enforcement operation.


Category: Hong Kong

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