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Experts say quarantine period should be at least 14 days

17 August 2021

By The SUN 

The experts reversed their earlier recommendation to cut the quarantine period to 7 days

Two panels of experts advising the Hong Kong government on its pandemic response has recommended that the quarantine period for travelers arriving from medium-risk countries should not be shorter than 14 days.

They also recommended that they be subjected to another 7 days of self-monitoring.

The Centre for Health Protection which supervises the two experts' panels said the government will study and implement the proposal as soon as possible.


The experts had previously recommended on Jun 9 that the quarantine period for new arrivals from medium-risk countries could be cut down to just seven days if the traveler is found positive for antibodies in a test administered locally.

In a statement issued Monday evening, the CHP said the quarantine period for travelers even from medium-risk places should normally be 21 days.

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This could only be cut to 14 days if the traveler is fully vaccinated with a Hong Kong-recognized vaccine, and on arrival, tests negative for Covid-19 and negative for antibodies.

Professor David Hui who chairs the scientific committee on emerging diseases, cited statistics showing that only about 88 percent of cases with a mutant strain were identified within seven days of quarantine.


One case was detected only after 13 days of the patient arriving in Hong Kong.

The Chinese University professor said that while a 10-day quarantine should be sufficient to detect almost all cases, there is still a slim chance of infections not being found on time.

“The government is not prepared to accept this one to two percent risk of leaking cases into the community,” he said.


“That means seven days’ hotel quarantine would be insufficient. Therefore, changing to 14 days of hotel quarantine for the time being would be more prudent.”

The experts held an urgent meeting today after a foreign domestic worker who arrived on Aug 1 from the United States, previously designated as medium risk, was found to carry the L452R mutant strain after ending her 7-day quarantine.

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The patient had sent a blood sample to a local laboratory from the US so she could present a positive result for a serology or antibody test. She tested negative on arrival, but positive on her Day 12 sample.

According to the CHP, the experts reviewed the latest Covid-19 situation, in particular the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, even by fully vaccinated patients.

The experts also noted the risks associated with imported cases spreading the virus to the local community.

​The updated recommendation is available at the CHP's website



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