Hong Kong Bans Foreign Visitors for Another Three Months

Restrictions due to expire on June 18 have been extended until September 18.

After dark in the Kowloon district of Mong Kok. (Photo: Jimmy Lau/Pixabay)

In its latest round of Covid-19 measures, Hong Kong has decided to keep its borders closed to most overseas visitors until mid-September and to extend the territory’s social-distancing restrictions by another two weeks, in a move reportedly influenced by the discovery of a cluster of nine new coronavirus cases.

Accordingly, entry restrictions will remain in place until July 7 for non-Hong Kong residents (who must also spend 14 days in quarantine) arriving from Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China and September 18 for everyone else. Residents, meanwhile, must continue to abide by a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people and a restriction on customers at restaurants, bars, and entertainment facilities. Due to be lifted tomorrow, these regulations will now remain in effect until June 18.

In announcing the extended measures at a press conference yesterday, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan dismissed suggestions that the gathering ban had been extended to prevent Hongkongers from observing upcoming protest anniversaries such as the June 4 Tiananmen Massacre vigil held annually in Victoria Park.

“What has been discussed in the [Executive Council] this morning, in terms of the legislation and also the different extensions, is really based on public health grounds,” she told journalists.

While arrivals remain severely limited, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) reopened to transit flights on June 1. But even passengers transferring between planes face stringent rules. According to the airport authority, “only transit/transfer passengers who have been checked through at the origin port and take transit/transfer flights operated by the same airline group are accepted at HKIA.” They must also go through temperature screening and will be required to wear masks at all times. Transiting to and from destinations in mainland China is not yet allowed.

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