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Quarantine period for vaccinated travelers may be cut to 7 days

10 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Travelers from 'medium' to 'high risk' countries could benefit from the shortened quarantine

An expert panel advising the government on its Covid-19 vaccination program has recommended that the quarantine period for vaccinated travelers entering Hong Kong, except for those coming from “extremely high-risk” to “very high risk” countries may be cut down to seven days.

Speaking at a news conference late on Wednesday, the experts said that apart from being fully vaccinated, the travelers must also test negative for Covid-19 on arrival, and positive for antibodies in a separate test. They should also present their inoculation records.

At present, the 7-day quarantine is only allowed for vaccinated travelers coming from Australia and New Zealand, designated as “low-risk countries.”

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Controller for Centre for Health Protection Dr Ronald Lam said, “The shortened quarantine period for vaccinated travelers is in response to the scientific evidence.”

But Lam was quick to add that the quarantine period for those coming from “very-high risk” (Ireland) or “extremely high-risk” places (Philippines, India, Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa and Brazil) should remain at 21 days, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.


However, current restrictions bar anyone who has stayed for at least two hours in the last 21 days in “extremely-high risk” countries from entering Hong Kong.

Lam said special facilities to collect blood samples would be set up at the airport for the antibody tests. But he said that despite the shortened quarantine period, others measures would be taken to prevent imported Covid-19 cases leaking into the community.

New arrivals should also test positive for antibodies to qualify for the shortened quarantine

Travelers who benefit from the shortened quarantine will have to be tested multiple times during their isolation, and then required to undergo self-monitoring for another seven days afterwards.

Those who will likely benefit from the new shortened quarantine period are travelers from those designated as "medium" or "high-risk" countries.

Countries currently designated as “high risk” are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Vietnam.

All other countries not in any of the high risk categories are classified as medium risk.

As for the kind of Covid vaccines that would be accepted for lowering the quarantine period for inbound travelers, the group said that apart from the vaccines already recognized in Hong Kong, those approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use or by stringent regulatory agencies (like Sputnik) will be accepted.

The panel also said it supported the decision to lower the minimum age for taking the BioNTech vaccine to 12 from 16. Lam said vaccinations for adolescents would start this month.

The experts also updated guidelines for elderly people receiving coronavirus vaccines in a bid to boost the vaccination rate. They said it's safe for elderly people who have taken flu shots in the past to get vaccinated against Covid-19, except the extremely frail ones.

On the question of whether it is acceptable to use different types of vaccines for the first and second dose, the experts said there is still limited evidence on the effects of mixed vaccinations and further studies are needed. Thus, members of the public are advised to stick to the same product when possible.

But in exceptional cases such as when a person suffers from extreme allergic reactions to the first vaccine, or if it is no longer available or inaccessible, vaccination with another product may be considered.

Details of the interim recommendation will be available at the CHP’s website:

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