Non-Hong Kong residents (HKRs) will be allowed to enter the city from overseas, the route-specific flight suspension mechanism will be adjusted, and rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be added at the airport.
As the local epidemic situation continues to subside and stabilise gradually, the Hong Kong government announced on 22 April 2022 (Friday) measures to adjust inbound control measures with effect from 00.00am (Hong Kong Time) on 1 May 2022.
Under the new regulations, non-Hong Kong residents (HKRs) will be allowed to enter the city from overseas places, the route-specific flight suspension mechanism will be suitably adjusted, and rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be added to the "test-and-hold" arrangement at the airport.
The adjustments aim to maintain the government’s strategy to guard against the importation of cases while balancing the public’s needs to resuming social and economic activities and strengthening the city’s position as an international financial and transportation hub.
Here are the specific adjustments.
Lifting the ban on non-HKRs entering Hong Kong
Starting from 1 May 2022 (Hong Kong Time), non-HKRs who have stayed in overseas places in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter Hong Kong and will be subject to the same boarding, quarantine, and testing arrangements as HKRs.
The relevant persons are required to comply with all stringent inbound testing and quarantine requirements, including:
- Be fully-vaccinated and hold a recognised vaccination record;
- Undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 within 48 hours before departure with a negative result;
- Hold a confirmation of room reservation in a designated quarantine hotel (DQH);
- Be subject to the "test-and-hold" arrangement upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport, and be transferred to DQHs by designated transport to undergo compulsory quarantine;
- Will be tested multiple times during their quarantine period.
Route-specific flight suspension mechanism shortened to five days
The current flight-specific suspension mechanism as triggered by the detection of imported cases will continue its operation, but the suspension period will be cut from seven to five days.
From 1 May, if on the same flight there are:
- Five or more passengers, or 5% or more of the total number of passengers on board the same flight (whichever is higher) tested positive for COVID-19 by arrival test; or
- Three or more passenger are tested positive for COVID-19 by arrival test and one or more non-compliant case(s) was/were allowed to board for Hong Kong without complying with with the requirement(s) specified under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H);
then the passenger flights of that route from the relevant airline from the same origin place will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for five days.
Adding RAT to "test-and-hold" arrangement
Currently, all arrivals via the Hong Kong International Airport are subject the "test-and-hold" arrangement in the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) in the airport for PCR tests, and only after confirmation of negative results can they be transferred by designated transport to DQHs for compulsory quarantine.
To ensure earlier detection of infected arrivals for isolation arrangements, the government's Inter-departmental Steering Committee cum Command Centre (Steering Committee) considers that an RAT requirement can be added. Arrivals with negative RAT results must continue to be subject to closed-loop management, and be transferred by designated transport to DQHs to wait for their PCR results to further shorten the waiting time of inbound passengers at the airport to reduce crowd gathering, while maintaining stringent control of importation risks.
Under the enhanced arrangement, when inbound passengers undergo PCR tests by professional swab sampling, specimens will also be collected for RATs at the same time.
Relevant government departments are making necessary preparations for the addition of RAT under the "test-and-hold" arrangement, which is estimated to be implemented in early May.
In accordance with the principles of guarding against the importation of cases, the government will continue to closely monitor and consider public health factors such as epidemic situation of different places, testing rate, vaccination rate, volume of arrivals and actual imported cases, as well as the developments of the local epidemic situation and relevant local socio-economic factors to adjust the boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements for overseas arrivals based on risk levels as the situation warrants.
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