Hong Kong to scrap Covid tests for arrivals, vaccine pass

By Reuters   December 28, 2022 | 01:04 am PT
Hong Kong to scrap Covid tests for arrivals, vaccine pass
Travellers arrive at Hong Kong International Airport after the lifting of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) movement controls in Hong Kong, China December 14, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Tyrone Siu
International travellers to Hong Kong will no longer need to do a mandatory PCR COVID-19 test on arrival, local broadcaster TVB said on Wednesday citing sources, adding that the city's vaccine pass required to enter most venues would also be scrapped.

Hong Kong leader John Lee is due to hold a media briefing at 3.30pm (0730 GMT) to give further details.

The expected announcement comes after Lee said on Saturday that Hong Kong would reopen its borders with mainland China by mid-January. The earliest date would be January 10 with priority for travel to the city given to those with business and family needs, the South China Morning Post said, citing unidentified sources.

Hong Kong has for nearly three years largely followed China's lead in tackling the novel coronavirus.

In an abrupt change of policy, China this month began dismantling the world's strictest COVID regime of lockdowns and extensive testing. The country will stop requiring inbound travellers to go into quarantine from Jan. 8, authorities said this week.

Restrictions on travel between Hong Kong and the mainland were imposed in early 2020. The reopening was postponed several times due to outbreaks in Hong Kong or the mainland. Hong Kong and China have lagged the rest of the world in easing stringent COVID rules.

International passengers arriving in Hong Kong since mid-month are no longer subject to COVID-related movement controls or barred from certain venues.

And while Hong Kong has effectively dismantled many of its stringent COVID rules in recent months, masks are still compulsory in public places unless exercising, while international arrivals are required to do a PCR COVID-19 test on arrival and once again two days later. A mandatory vaccine pass has also been in place since February.

Lee has said the government was taking a gradual approach to relaxing restrictions to minimise public health risks.

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