Hong Kong is easing Covid-19 restrictions on inbound travellers from December 14, scrapping its so-called ‘0+3’ regime.
Hong Kong chief executive John Lee said the city will no longer issue an ‘amber’ health code for arrivals, which prevents people from entering restaurants, bars and other establishments during the first three days of stay.
Under the new rules, incoming travellers with proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival in Hong Kong will receive a blue code on their health app and can roam the city freely.
The Covid-19 mobile app ‘Leave Home Safe’ will also no longer be needed to enter public venues. A vaccine pass demonstrating proof of three Covid-19 jabs, however, will still be required to enter designated venues such as restaurants.
International travellers must still take a PCR test on arrival at the airport and on the second day of their visit, in addition to five days of rapid antigen tests. Those who test positive will receive a red code and must isolate according to the city’s protocols.
At a news conference, Lee said:
“We made these two decisions because we have considered the data and the risks…
“One of the factors considered is that the risk brought in by imported cases is actually lower than the risk of local infection.”
This follows the removal of the requirement for international visitors to undergo hotel quarantine in September.
Cathay Pacific has welcomed the latest measures:
“The adjustments will help further boost sentiment for travel, especially among inbound visitors, thereby facilitating the resumption of travel activities and strengthening of network connectivity at the Hong Kong aviation hub.”
Cathay Pacific has already resumed flights to destinations such as Tokyo (Haneda), Denpasar (Bali) and Zurich in November, as well as Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang and Dhaka in December. The airline plans to resume flights to destinations such as Phuket and Nagoya in January 2023.
“As a Group, we are on track to achieve our target of operating up to one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels by the end of 2022. We anticipate that we will be operating around 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, with an aim to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.”