Starting September 26, the Government will do away with compulsory hotel quarantine for people arriving in Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan, but they must undergo medical surveillance at home or at a hotel for three days.
Chief Executive John Lee made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon where he unveiled the new "0+3" quarantine arrangement and other facilitation measures for arrivals.
Currently, inbound travellers from overseas places or Taiwan are required to undergo quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel for three days, followed by a four-day medical surveillance period at home or in a non-quarantine hotel.
From 6am on September 26, such arrivals will be allowed to go home or go to the hotel of their choice for a three-day medical surveillance period right after they have completed a nucleic acid test at the airport. They do not need to wait for the test result at the airport and can leave there by any transport means.
Upon obtaining a negative test result, the travellers will be given an amber code on their LeaveHomeSafe mobile app to restrict their entry to scheduled premises. While they can go out during the medical surveillance period, they cannot enter premises which proactively check the vaccine pass, such as restaurants and bars.
Moreover, they have to take rapid antigen tests (RATs) daily and nucleic acid tests once every two days in the first seven days upon arrival in Hong Kong.
After completing the medical surveillance period, the travellers will be subject to self-monitoring in the subsequent four days.
In addition to the "0+3" quarantine arrangement, Mr Lee announced that boarding requirements for inbound travellers will be simplified, under which they must present a negative result of a RAT conducted within 24 hours before departure, instead of a nucleic acid test that was conducted within 48 hours.
Unvaccinated Hong Kong residents are also allowed to board a flight for Hong Kong. However, they will not be eligible to get a provisional vaccine pass.
For non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or above, only those who are fully vaccinated or hold a COVID-19 vaccination medical exemption certificate are allowed to come to Hong Kong.
Furthermore, the quotas under the Come2hk and Return2hk schemes will be cancelled and the schemes will be applicable to people arriving in Hong Kong from all places in the Mainland and Macau.
The above measures will also take effect from 6am on September 26.
The Chief Executive emphasised that the Government aims to provide inbound travellers with more convenience while maintaining control of the overall epidemic situation.
“By introducing this new measure of "0+3" quarantine arrangement for arrivals from overseas and Taiwan, obviously this is a kind of relaxation from the "3+4" model.
“So we want to ensure that we will monitor the situation closely so that all the risks are well controlled and things can progress in an orderly manner.”
He also explained that the Government had taken into account a series of factors in considering the anti-epidemic measures.
“All the measures that we consider and roll out take into consideration the prevailing local COVID-19 situation.
“We have to ensure that, first of all, our hospital services can cope. We have to protect the very young and the very old who are high-risk groups. We have to ensure that we reduce the number of serious cases and death cases and we want to do it scientifically.
“And then, of course, we want to balance the need for controlling the epidemic with society's needs, economic needs, and also the need to raise Hong Kong's competitiveness.”