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HK opens door to tourists, relaxes flight suspension rules from May 1

22 April 2022

By The SUN


HK opens up to the world by allowing tourists to come in

Starting on May 1, non-residents will be allowed to enter Hong Kong, while rules for suspending flights that bring in passengers who test positive for Covid-19 will be eased.

Incoming flights will be suspended for just five days instead of a week, and they must bring in at least five passengers who test positive on arrival, instead of the current three.

In addition, a rapid test will be conducted on arriving passengers on top of the RT-PCR one so they can be taken to their quarantine hotel more quickly if they test negative.


The new measures were announced by the government through a press release issued late on Friday, after health authorities reported 574 new Covid-19 cases, down by around 50 compared with the previous day.

Among the new cases, 11were imported and included four passengers who flew in from Australia on flight CX100 on Wednesday. As a result, the flight operated by Cathay Pacific has been grounded for a week.

The cases also included a 38-year-old Indonesia domestic helper who arrived on Apr 8 and tested positive on the 12th day after she had finished her seven-day hotel quarantine and moved in with her employer.

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Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection said the helper had a low viral load, and both she and her employer’s family showed no symptoms. The CHP said it appeared to be a re-positive case.

Au also said around 20 students taking their university entrance exams had been sent to Penny’s Bay quarantine center, either because they or their family members are infected.

He said another report of a student preparing to attend in-person lessons for the first time tested positive for Covid-19 but the pupil had not been to school recently.


Another 15 patients with Covid were reported to have passed away, raising the total death toll in the fifth wave of the pandemic to 9,014.

In its statement, the government said non-residents who arrive in Hong Kong will have to meet the same requirements as arriving residents.

They need to present a valid vaccination record, a negative result for a PCR test conducted within 48 hours of boarding their flight, and confirmation of a seven-day stay at a designated quarantine hotel.

Passengers who test negative on rapid test will be taken to their quarantine hotels immediately

The government said the new arrangements aim to minimize risks coming from imported cases while making it easier for Hong Kong-bound travellers to reserve flights and hotels.

It is also a response to the need of residents to return home, and the demands from relevant sectors.

A government steering committee reportedly monitored inbound flights and passenger flow since Apr 1 when a flight ban on nine countries was lifted, and found that the proportion of imported cases had actually decreased, instead of increased.


While the number of inbound passengers surged to 1,200 from fewer than 300 in the two months before the lifting of the ban, the number of imported cases dropped to just one percent of the total from the previous 3 percent.

The ban on tourists or non-residents has been in place for more than a year, or since Mar 25, 2020.

The government said the ban is now being lifted because the public health risk associated with non-HK residents is the same as that of residents coming from the same place.


In addition, tourists will be subject to the same health protocols imposed on arriving residents, while the number of hotel rooms will help limit the number of inbound passengers,

For details on the boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements for all inbound passengers, check the government’s thematic website:

Meanwhile, the flight suspension rules were eased after the government took note of the view of various sectors that the previous triggers were too harsh that from Apr 1 to 20 alone, 25 flights were barred from flying in for a week.


This in turn upset the plans of many residents planning to return home, “and severely affected the operations of airlines,” said the statement.

Recent reports suggested many airlines had refused to resume flying to Hong Kong because of the uncertainties posed by the flight suspensions.

The new rules provide that a flight will be suspended for five days if (1) five or more of its passengers or five percent of the total number of passengers test positive on arrival test, or (2) three or more passengers test positive on arrival and one or more is found not to have complied with pre-boarding requirements.

Meanwhile the addition of RAT to the “test-and-hold arrangement” at the airport is meant to shorten the waiting time of inbound passengers at the airport to reduce crowd gathering while maintaining strict rules to prevent the importation of cases.

All arriving travellers will have to take the RAT and PCR tests at the same time, and if the rapid test produces a negative result, the person will be immediately transferred to the quarantine hotel through designated transport.

Should the PCR test yields a positive result afterwards, the traveller will be moved to an isolation facility.

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