Hong Kong will no longer require inbound travellers to take a PCR test as of December 29, while also scrapping mandatory vaccine passes, in a sweeping overhaul of policies aimed at reviving its reputation as a global financial centre.
There will no longer be a cap on the number of people who can gather in public, although the wearing of masks remains compulsory.
However, people coming to Hong Kong will need to undertake either a rapid test within 24 hours of their flight departing for the city, or a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival – but completing a health declaration form to report the result is no longer mandatory.
The moves follow Hong Kong’s ending of hotel quarantine for all visitors in late September and come as China readies to reopen its borders to Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
The changes are based on a high immunity level in the city, sufficient medicine, experience of handling Covid among health-care workers, an improved emergency response system and better awareness among residents, said city leader John Lee.
“The above mentioned changes are strongly pushing Hong Kong to recover.”
China is set to emerge from almost three years of self-imposed global isolation on January 8 and is also set to resume issuing Hong Kong travel permits and reopen express checkpoints on the border, with reports that Hong Kong’s border with the mainland will reopen the following week, with priority for travel to the city given to those with business and family needs.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg