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Hong Kong moves UK to high-risk list

UK arrivals will have to undergo a three week quarantine in Hong Kong from the end of June.

In one of the most abrupt about turns of the pandemic, the Hong Kong government announced today that it would be moving the United Kingdom from the lower risk group B to high risk group A2.

Just yesterday there were rumours of a seven day quarantine for countries in groups B and C if Hong Kong residents took an antibody test to prove virus resistance before they travelled.

The group realignment takes effect from June 28 and means all arrivals from the UK will be subject to a 21 day quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Lower risk groups are able to quarantine for 14 days if fully vaccinated.

The decision comes at an impactful time with thousands of overseas students due to return to Hong Kong from university and boarding school in the coming weeks. The majority of quarantine hotels are fully booked all summer and many travellers are struggling to extend their 14 day stays to 21 days.

The judgment comes as the UK reports increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections of the Delta variant, albeit mostly in the unvaccinated under 25 age group.

Despite the rise in cases, the UK's death rate has remained consistently low for many weeks and hospital admissions are mainly constrained to unvaccinated patients or those who have only received one vaccine dose. According to reports, Covid is currently the 24th cause of death in the country.

Britain’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi reported yesterday that 82% of Britons have now received at least one jab. A Public Health England study of recent hospital admissions found that more than 60% of Covid patients were completely unvaccinated, while eight per cent had received both inoculations.

However, it seems that travellers from the UK are now victims of Hong Kong’s own failing vaccination drive. Just 18% of the Asian hub’s residents have been fully vaccinated and in a densely packed city of seven and a half million people, the government is well aware that an outbreak of the more transmissible Delta variant could quickly overwhelm the public health system.

And so it seems that until Hong Kong can persuade more of its residents to roll up their sleeves, international travel is going to remain in the doldrums.

More information about Hong Kong’s current country groupings can be found online.

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