HK to add Britain to high-risk coronavirus list, all travellers from UK must have negative Covid-19 test before flying, face two weeks in hotel room

25-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong is adding Britain to its list of high-risk countries for Covid-19, according to a source, a move requiring travellers from the UK to test negative for the coronavirus before departure, and quarantine in a hotel on arrival.

The measure takes effect from October 1, and comes with Hong Kong expecting seven new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

“Britain is considered as having a bigger impact on Hong Kong, compared with France and Spain,” a source familiar with policymaking said.

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“When deciding on which countries to add to the list, health authorities also looked at the potential number of travellers arriving from those countries and the number of direct flights available.”

Travellers arriving from the UK will now have to submit a negative coronavirus test result before boarding a plane to the city, and will then have to be quarantined for 14 days in a hotel, instead of at home.

The decision is expected to be announced by the government on Thursday afternoon.

There are already 10 countries on the list: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States.

Europe has experienced a rebound of coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

According to data from the World Health Organization, the daily tally of new infections in Britain has been rising since the start of the month, increasing from about 1,400 on September 1 to more than 4,900 on Wednesday.

Spain’s figures have been fluctuating but, as with France, the general trend is upwards. Both countries have each recorded more than 10,000 new cases per day over the past week.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu, a specialist in respiratory medicine, said Hong Kong authorities should include Spain and France on the high-risk list to ensure the policy was applied consistently.

“The epidemic situations in France and Spain are no better than in Britain, and in fact are more severe.

“Even though there aren’t many people flying directly in from these places, it is possible there are a considerable number of them coming in via transit,” Leung said.

He said taking a Covid-19 test before boarding each flight, as mooted in public discussions, could improve air travel safety, but was no replacement for quarantining on arrival, because it would not identify those asymptomatic carriers still in their incubation period.


Category: Hong Kong

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