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18k sign online petition urging home quarantine for returning residents

26 March 2022

By The SUN 

HK Airport may soon be busy again but many residents are unhappy with the hotel quarantine

An online petition calling on Hong Kong to allow vaccinated residents returning from overseas to spend the seven-day mandatory quarantine at home instead of a hotel has gained nearly more than 18,000 supporters as of this writing, less than two days after it was started.

The petition started on the platform by someone named “Prune Prune” urged the government to “remove hotel quarantine for vaccinated residents who test negative on arrival.”

It added that residents should be allowed to quarantine at home for seven days “due to a complete lack of hotel options.”


"Why are Covid positive cases in Hong Kong allowed to isolate at home even without a tracking device while incoming travelers who test negative are forced into hotels?" The petition read.

It added that it made no sense to put returning residents under quarantine when 60% of the city’s 7.4 million population has already been infected, referring to projections made by a widely reported study by infectious disease experts at the University of Hong Kong.

In the HKU study, it was estimated that as of Mar 14, shortly after the peak daily infection rate of between 60,000 and 70,000 was reached, about half of all people in Hong Kong had already contracted the coronavirus.

But due to the underreporting of cases from rapid test results and the possibility that there are still a lot of silent transmissions in the community, the official Covid-19 tally in the city is still at 1,085,953.

Many quarantine hotels like Rambler in Tsing Yi now operate as isolation facilities

The petitioner’s call was echoed by many of those who signed and gave support. Here are some of the comments:

“I’m signing because I’m fully vaccinated. Also, I’m a Hong Kong permanent resident and I don’t see the need to spend lots of money at (a) hotel when I already pay my very expensive rent in HK.”

“It’s an unnecessary restriction that most civilized countries had given up on.”

“Hong Kong has no reason to impose hotel quarantine when the world has opened up.”

Pindutin para sa detalye

“Hong Kong hotels should only be used by tourists –residents have homes here and can isolate at home.”

“No other country has this rule. And we have to live with Covid so no point in quarantine, provided negative results are provided.”

“Not based on scientific reasons.”


“Given that travelers may only board with a negative test result, there is negligible incremental risk to people in Hong Kong. Besides, most of these are Hong Kong residents stranded for several months, they should be allowed to return home and continue their lives.”

The rush to return to Hong Kong was triggered by Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement that the flight ban on nine countries - Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK, and the United States – will be lifted from Apr 1.

At the same time, she announced that the mandatory hotel quarantine will be cut to seven days instead of the previous 14. About a month earlier, it was a strict 21-day hotel quarantine for most residents returning from overseas.


But the reduced quarantine comes with strict testing requirements. First, an incoming resident or foreign domestic worker should present a negative result for a PCR test done within 48 hours of boarding.

While in quarantine, they will have to do daily self-testing using rapid antigen test kits until the fifth day, when they need to again undergo a PCR test. If they test negative on rapid tests on the sixth and seventh day they will be allowed to leave the hotel.

If at any stage after their arrival they test positive they will be moved to hospital for treatment or to a community isolation facility to complete the 14-day quarantine requirement or after they test negative on two successive tests.


Despite the restrictions many residents stranded abroad have rushed to try to book tickets for home, but were frustrated by the limited flights and hotel rooms.

Airlines are said to be wary of Hong Kong’s flight-specific suspensions and strict quarantine rules for their crew, while many previously designated quarantine hotels have been turned into isolation facilities and would need time to revert to the previous arrangement.

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