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Flight bans lifted, quarantine cut to 7 days

21 March 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says the Covid situation in the banned countries not any worse than HK

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced that the flight bans imposed by Hong Kong on nine countries will be lifted starting Apr 1, and hotel quarantine for all arriving travelers will be cut to seven days instead of the current 14.

Speaking at her daily press conference, CE Lam said the Covid situation in the banned countries is not any worse than in Hong Kong so there was no longer a need to prevent residents there from coming in.

Among the countries covered by the flight ban that has been in place since January this year are the Philippines, Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the United States and United Kingdom.


The order also removes all classifications for countries, meaning, they will no longer be classified as “high risk” and so on.

All inbound travelers must, however, be fully vaccinated - meaning, they must have at least two doses of a Covid vaccine before boarding. They should be able to present a recognized vaccine certificate to prove this.

Asked if the new measure applies even to foreign domestic helpers, Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada told The SUN "It's for all, including helpers with valid visas."


In addition, travelers will be required to present a negative result for a PCR test done within 48 hours of boarding and a confirmed booking for seven days at a designated quarantine hotel.

Mrs Lam said the reduction in the time spent by arrivals in hotel quarantine is “completely in line” with local regulations that permit infected residents who tested negative on the 6th and 7th day of their isolation to resume their normal lives.

On their arrival, the passengers must test negative on a PCR test, and also on subsequent tests while in quarantine. These include rapid tests daily from the second day until the fourth, a PCR test on the fifth day, and rapid tests again on the 6th and 7th day.


“If all results are negative then they can end their seven-day quarantine,” said the CE.

After leaving their quarantine hotels, the new arrivals will only be required to conduct self-surveillance for the next seven days, and on day 12, submit themselves to a PCR test at a community testing centre.

According to the CE, this is just to ensure that they did not catch the virus at their quarantine hotel.


Travelers who test positive at any stage after their arrival will be taken to a community isolation facility.

CE Lam also announced that the planned compulsory universal testing was being put on hold as it would require a lot of manpower and time that Hong Kong is not able to spare at the moment.

She candidly admitted that the government realized that the task was not was easy as it looked.


Around 80,000 people will need to be mobilized to help implement the scheme, which would require restricting people's movements while they are tested three times.

She mentioned that the Mainland authorities thought Hong Kong was "rather weak" in mobilizing resources, or in making residents comply with compulsory testing orders.

During localized lockdowns, she said around 16% of residents defied the compulsory testing notice, and up to 29% did not open their doors to authorities who checked for compliance.

As regards the strict social distancing rules imposed on Feb 22 when the daily infection tally surged to more than 50,000 the CE said they will remain in place until at least the original target date of Apr 20.

If the number of confirmed cases has continued to decline by then, she said the restrictions will be lifted in three phases, with the initial stage to include allowing a maximum of four persons to gather in public and evening dine-in at restaurants resumed.

The second phase would allow up to eight people to get together and eat in restaurants, beaches and bars to reopen, and so forth.

The last stage would remove all restrictions except the wearing of masks in public and the continued implementation of the vaccine pass.

For the latest information on the government's Covid-19 regulations, please refer to the website:

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