Hong Kong border controls “unlikely” to be relaxed before June 30 amid “significant amount” of imported cases, says Lam

Hong Kong border controls “unlikely” to be relaxed before June 30 amid “significant amount” of imported cases, says Lam
FILE PHOTO: Travellers wearing face masks queue at the check-in counters of the Hong Kong International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Hong Kong, China, March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Hong Kong will seemingly keep its current quarantine policy for inbound travelers, as a “significant amount” of daily infections still comes from imported cases, said the city’s outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

On Tuesday, the financial hub logged 250 COVID cases, including 34 that were imported. This was a slight rebound from the previous day’s low of 190 cases, the fewest reported since February 4. Plus, zero virus-related deaths were reported for four consecutive days. Despite this, seven days of hotel quarantine for inbound travelers will remain in place, at least until July 1, when John Lee officially takes office as the city’s new leader.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong stocks have continued to decline, with growing calls from business communities and airline companies to ease border controls. The Hang Seng Index fell as much as 1.6% on Tuesday. Cathay Pacific dropped by 1.7%.

Key comments:

“It’s very unlikely that during my term there would be more relaxations on the border controls,” said Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a regular press briefing on Tuesday. “In other words, we will still have the hotel quarantine. We will still require vaccination before a passenger can board a plane to Hong Kong and we will still impose the test and hold, whether at the airport or at a hotel, for a PCR test, in order to keep Hong Kong safe.”

“At least, the quarantine period for travellers should be reduced from seven to five days before July 1, to make Hong Kong better align with the rest of the world,” said Hong Kong business tycoon Allen Zeman. “Otherwise, Hong Kong is lagging behind other metropolitan cities which have already opened up to tourism and business sectors.”