A busy Hong Kong intersection. (photo by Paul Heney)
Officials in Hong Kong announced a ban on flights from nine countries would be lifted and quarantine restrictions would be eased, starting on April 1.
According to The Associated Press, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said commercial flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States would be welcomed again next month.
The ban had been in place since January to combat the spread of Omicron coronavirus.
International travelers arriving in Hong Kong will have to quarantine for seven days in approved hotels, which is down from the previous 14-day requirement. Tourists must test negative on Day 6 and Day 7 of quarantine before being allowed to visit the city.
Upon arrival, all visitors must present proof of receiving an approved coronavirus vaccination and a negative test. Lam said the decision to ease restrictions was made with “experts, both locally and from the mainland.”
“For any longer-term public health strategy, we will have to take into account both factors that is maintaining Hong Kong’s accessibility to the mainland, and also ensuring her continued connectivity with the outside world,” Lam told The AP.
Health officials revealed that social distancing measures would remain in place until April 21, but would be lifted in stages as long as infection rates didn’t surge. Restrictions on restaurants, gyms, salons and public gatherings have also been eased.