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As China begins to ditch some COVID restrictions and revamp others, the rest of the world is taking note. Even though the country hasn't officially scrapped its zero-COVID plan, things have definitely changed, with lockdown policies becoming more targeted and testing requirements loosening. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, COVID curbs have already been shifting for the last few months. For example, back in September, the city got rid of mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals.
On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government announced that from Wednesday onwards, international arrivals won't have to deal with COVID movement controls or venue exclusions. So, in other words, our friends from abroad might actually consider coming to visit us in the city. On top of this, Hong Kong is making it so that its COVID tracking app, LeaveHomeSafe, isn't mandatory anymore.
People may still need to show proof of vaccination to get into certain places, and the mask mandate also remains firmly in place.
"After arriving in HK, international arrivals don't have any restrictions. So the same day they step off the aircraft they are free to enter any premises," Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau said in a press briefing.
"All people want to have less restrictions as much as possible while ensuring activities socially and economically can proceed as much as possible," Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee said.
"This swift adjustment is very positive for economic sentiment. As for the economy, the real shift will happen when China reopens with the rest of the world, which could be happening soon," said Greater China economist at Societe Generale SA Michelle Lam.