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Hong Kong to end Covid hotel quarantine policy

BBC News logo BBC News 9/23/2022
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee made the announcement on Friday © Getty Images Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee made the announcement on Friday

Hong Kong's government has announced that it will end its controversial policy of mandatory hotel quarantine for all people arriving in the city.

Travellers will also no longer have to show a negative Covid test before boarding a plane to Hong Kong.

Instead those arriving will only have to monitor themselves for potential Covid infection.

Hong Kong has some of the world's toughest rules as it follows China's zero Covid policies.

So its departure from what the mainland is doing is a long-awaited decision. Restrictions on people arriving have been in place for more than two years.

The prolonged closure of its border has hit Hong Kong's economy hard and left the Asian financial centre at a disadvantage compared with its rivals in the region such as Singapore.

Singapore on Friday unseated the city as Asia's top financial market in the Global Financial Centres Index.

"Hong Kong has been isolated from the international community for two-and-half years, and is suffering from it," Hao Hong, chief economist of Grow Investment Group told the BBC.

"While the end to hotel quarantine is a step forward, rebuilding confidence takes time, especially against the tide of exodus of talents from Hong Kong."

"It will take a while before people and businesses respond to the new arrangements and airlines adjust their schedules," said Louis Kuijs, chief Asia Pacific economist of S&P Global Ratings.

"And a sizeable share of the people and activities that have left Hong Kong in recent years will not come back."

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