Announcement comes amid mounting frustration with international financial centre’s isolation as world lives with COVID.
Hong Kong will reduce hotel quarantine from seven days to three days as businesses and residents in the international financial hub grow increasingly frustrated with one of the world’s most draconian border regimes.
Under the eased measures, travellers will be required to quarantine for three days in a hotel instead of seven, after which they will be subject to four days of “home medical surveillance”.
During the surveillance period, arrivals will not be allowed to enter venues such as bars and restaurants that have been required to adopt a new two-colour health code similar to that used in mainland China.
The eased measures will take effect from Friday.
Long branded as “Asia’s World City”, Hong Kong has turned into one of the most isolated metropolises on earth after two and a half years of strict border controls designed to align with mainland China.
The pandemic policies, along with a sweeping crackdown on dissent that has severely curtailed rights and freedoms in the former British colony, have prompted an exodus of residents and warnings of brain drain in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
More than 120,000 people left in 2020 and 2021, with tens of thousands more expected to follow this year.
In a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong last year, more than 40 percent of expatriate residents said they were planning to leave or considering it.
Gary Ng, a senior economist at Natixis in Hong Kong, said that while positive, the relaxation of quarantine still left the city trailing the rest of the world.
“The optimistic scenario is Hong Kong’s air passengers can reach 8 percent of the pre-pandemic level in 2022, but it is not enough,” Ng told Al Jazeera.
“Hong Kong’s leadership needs to move beyond COVID for the greater good of the economy and introducing extra hurdles does not help, such as the health code.”
Source: Thanks AlJazeera.com