covid testing at airport

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Relevant inbound travellers are still required to undergo RATs on a daily basis until Day 7 after arrival. They can only go out after obtaining a negative result.

Following the implementation of the “0+3” arrangement, the HKSAR government has adjusted the nucleic acid testing arrangements for inbound travellers (aged three years old or above on the date of arrival) arriving in Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan starting from 21 November 2022 (Monday). This will see the number of nucleic acid tests that travellers take to be halved from four times to just twice.

Under the new arrangements, relevant persons will only be required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the day of arrival at Hong Kong (i.e. “test-and-go” at the airport) and on Day 2 after arrival, as well as daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) until Day 7 after arrival at Hong Kong. The existing compulsory nucleic acid testing requirement on Day 4 and Day 6 after arrival at Hong Kong will be lifted.

The adjustments are detailed below:

  • Within 24 hours prior to boarding: RAT
  • Day 0 (i.e. day of arrival at Hong Kong): Nucleic acid test under “test-and-go” upon arrival at the airport
  • Day 2: Nucleic acid test at a community testing centre/community testing station or an ac-hoc mobile specimen collection station, or arrange a self-paid test by professional swab sampling at a local medical testing institution recognised by the Government; and
  • Day 1 to Day 7: Daily RATs. Can only leave the place of stay upon obtaining a negative result.

Effective 21 November 2022, the above new rule is applicable even to relevant inbound persons arriving at Hong Kong before that date, thus they will not be required to undergo the compulsory nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6 if they have already undergone the compulsory nucleic acid test on Day 2 as required. They are still required to undergo RATs on a daily basis until Day 7 after arrival at Hong Kong. They can only leave the place of stay after obtaining a negative result.

As for inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao in general, the requirement of undergoing nucleic acid test on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong remains unchanged.

The handling arrangements for inbound persons who test positive align with those for local cases. That means, the Vaccine Pass of positive persons will be switched to a Red Code. The positive persons should provide such information to the Centre for Health Protection through the online platforms (for nucleic acid tests or RATs).

Taking stock of the situation, the Government said, in view of the short incubation period of the Omicron variant, a vast majority of imported cases was already detected by nucleic acid tests under “test-and-go” on the day of arrival and on Day 2 after arrival at Hong Kong.

Taking into consideration the local epidemic situation and that inbound persons could move about in the community after “test-and-go” at the airport under the “0+3” arrangement, it may be more likely that confirmed cases detected by the nucleic acid tests on Day 4 and Day 6 stemmed from local infection rather than importation. These cases accounted for a relatively smaller proportion of the confirmed cases among relevant inbound persons, and were also at a relatively low level when compared to the local caseload. 

“It is our aim to facilitate activities and people flow essential to socio-economic recovery, so as to safeguard the wellbeing of citizens and protect the public healthcare system while reducing the disruption to normal social activities, with a view to achieving the greatest effect with the lowest cost," said a Government spokesperson.

The Government will gazette the relevant compulsory testing notices under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to effect the above measures.


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