Hong Kong travel restrictions are easing — the former British colony is lifting flight bans and shortening quarantine requirements after two years of strict border measures, while schools will reopen from April, announced Hong Kong’s leader on Monday.
Hong Kong travel restrictions: What to know
Hong Kong closed its border in 2020; few flights were able to land and hardly any passengers were allowed to transit, reported Reuters. Things, however, are looking up for international students looking to study in Hong Kong.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said flight bans on nine countries will be lifted on April 1, 2022.
This means travellers from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Nepal, the US and the UK will all be allowed back from that date. Travellers from these countries must take a test on arrival at Hong Kong International Airport before transferring to a hotel quarantine.
Travellers must undergo seven days of hotel quarantine, down from 14, if they continue to test negative.
“The flight ban is no longer timely and appropriate…it will bring huge disturbances to Hong Kong people who are stuck in these nine countries if we continue the ban,” Lam was quoted saying by Reuters.
Those in hotel quarantine must take daily rapid antigen tests, which must be negative. They must take a PCR test on their fifth day of quarantine; if that result and all of the rapids are negative, they will be permitted to leave, reported Sky News. Visitors must self-monitor for symptoms after leaving the hotel.
How Hong Kong travel restrictions affect schools
According to the South China Morning Post, schools — including primary schools, international schools and kindergartens — would resume face-to-face classes from April 19, 2022 earliest.
Secondary schools are next, after the Diploma of Secondary Education exams, which authorities are aiming to hold on April 22, 2022, said the daily.
Lam said the Education Bureau had come up with contingency plans for postponing the exam if necessary, while the government’s vaccine pass scheme will be adopted in schools, but will not apply to students.
The vaccine pass arrangement is a programme that allows vaccinated or exempted residents to enter specific premises, such as event premises, pubs and bars, supermarkets and shopping centres.