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Hong Kong reduces its hotel quarantine

A new '3+4' arrangement will come into force from this week. Here's what you need to know.

A near-empty arrivals board at Hong Kong airport - it's been a miserable 24 months for the city.

The Hong Kong government has reduced hotel quarantine from seven to three days, following an announcement this morning (August 8) by chief executive John Lee.

From Friday August 12, international arrivals will be subject to three nights of hotel quarantine followed by four days of home-based medical surveillance. Currently arrivals must quarantine in a designated hotel for seven days.

From day four to seven travellers will be able to head home but their activities will be restricted. They will be issued with a yellow code which means they will be unable to access many areas that require check-in with the city’s LeaveHomeSafe app, such as bars, restaurants and gyms. However, they must take a daily lateral flow test and if that remains negative, they will be able to use public transport, go to work and shop in malls and markets.

Once travellers have completed the ‘3+4’ arrangement, their LeaveHomeSafe health code will automatically change to an ‘access all areas’ blue and they will be asked to self-monitor their health for a further three days.

Further changes mean the day of arrival into the city will now be set as day 0 rather than day one as is currently the case, and travellers will be able to check out of their quarantine hotel on the morning of day three. PCR tests will be conducted on the day of arrival, as well as on the second, fourth, six and ninth day. A daily lateral flow test must also be taken until day ten.

Travellers already in hotel quarantine will be allowed to leave early once they’ve undertaken the relevant testing.

“As for those already staying in hotels… we will arrange for them to finish all the relevant tests,” said deputy secretary for Health, Tony Wong. “Upon receiving negative results they can leave early in batches in an orderly manner.”

Some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world have remained in force in Hong Kong for more than two years, including a mammoth 21-day hotel quarantine requirement last year. It’s hoped that further easing will be introduced before Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and an international bankers conference take place in the city in November.

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