Hong Kong to Require Covid-19 Test Results for Arrivals from Seven Countries

Indonesia and the Philippines have been included due to their uncontrolled coronavirus outbreaks.

Duk Ling, one of Hong Kong’s last Chinese junks, on Victoria Harbour. (Photo: mainathlet/Pixabay)

Starting at midnight on July 25, Hong Kong will impose further restrictions on all travelers who have visited specified “high-risk” places within 14 days of arrival. The territory’s government announced the new measures over the weekend in a bid to further reduce the number of imported cases, which reached a total of 234 for the period from June 20 to July 17. According to a statement, the decision was made “in view of the development and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong” and the limited capacity of the territory’s quarantine and isolation facilities.

The seven high-risk countries include two in Southeast Asia (Indonesia and the Philippines), four in South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan), and South Africa. Anyone bound for Hong Kong from these areas must provide additional documents at check-in to be allowed to board the flight.

Firstly, travelers will need to show a letter or certificate (in English or Chinese) issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution showing a negative result for Covid-19 through a nucleic acid test. The sample must have been taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time. An original copy of the medical report is also required, as is a letter certifying that the laboratory or healthcare institution is recognized or approved by the government of that place. Travelers should also provide confirmation of a room reservation at a Hong Kong hotel for no less than 14 days.

Passengers transiting in Hong Kong or given special permission by the local authorities to bypass compulsory quarantine will not be affected. All travelers entering the territory—even those who have been tested beforehand—are required to submit deep throat saliva samples for a Covid-19 test on arrival, before waiting up to eight hours at a designated location (typically the AsiaWorld Expo convention center) for the result. Those who test negative must then go straight to their hotel to start a mandatory two-week quarantine.

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