Inbound arrivals to Hong Kong will not be required to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine from September 26.
Chief Executive John Lee made an announcement on Friday marking an end to some of the strictest restrictions imposed by a country during the pandemic.
Hong Kong has also replaced the requirement of a pre-arrival polymerase chain reaction test with a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure.
Inbound arrivals would still need to take a test at the airport but unlike earlier where they had to wait for the results, this would be more of a test-and-go measure and travelers would also be able to take public transport from the airport.
However, they would be required to self-monitor at home for three days and would not be able to dine in at restaurants and visit bars. On days 4 and 6, travellers would need to take mandatory polymerase chain reaction tests.
One of the last few destinations that still follows a stringent Covid policy for inbound arrivals, Hong Kong has been progressively easing restricstions, the pace of which quickened after Lee took charge as the city chief.
Daily Covid cases in Hong have now fallen below 6000.
Lo Chung-mau, the city’s health chief, mentioned that the shortening of the quarantine period in August to three days in a hotel and four at home had resulted in a 20 percent increase in inbound arrivals.
However, speaking at an aviation conference in Qatar on Wednesday, Willie Walsh, director general of International Air Transport Association, said that the stringent Covid policies have resulted in Hong Kong losing its position as a global aviation hub.
A once-vibrant financial hub of Asia, pressure had been mounting on the Hong Kong government to fully reopen its international borders.
On Thursday, Japan announced its decision to reopen to mass tourism from next month. Asian destinations will surely be competing with each other to bring back tourists into the country and help resurrect the economy.