Hong Kong to Tighten Restrictions on U.K. Returnees

Starting on October 1, arrivals from Britain will have to be tested for Covid-19 before departure.

An aerial view of Murray Building and Blake Pier in Stanley, Hong Kong. (Photo: Wai Siew/Unsplash)

As Europe grapples with a second wave of coronavirus infections, the Hong Kong government has just placed the United Kingdom on its list of high-risk countries, triggering stricter entry requirements that will last until further notice. According to the South China Morning Post, insider sources said the new restrictions would come into effect next Thursday.

From midnight on October 1, travelers returning from Britain must show a negative result from a nucleic acid test, taken within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong. They are also required to carry documentary proof that the laboratory or healthcare institution where the testing took place is recognized or approved by the U.K. government.

After testing negative on arrival at the airport, these passengers will not be allowed to serve out their mandatory 14-day quarantine period at home. Instead, they must self-isolate at a hotel, with the room reservation presented to airline ground staff before boarding the flight. Stiff penalties will be handed out to passengers who fail to comply with the new restrictions or provide inaccurate information, with offenders liable to spend up to six months behind bars and pay a fine of HK$10,000.

Though the current outbreaks in France and Spain are worse than that of the U.K., neither country was added to the list. Sources revealed that Hong Kong health authorities came to the decision after looking at the greater number of direct flights between Britain and Hong Kong. The U.K. joins 10 countries already classified as “high-risk” by local authorities; these include Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United States.

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