Hong Kong has decided to add border restrictions on sixteen countries, including the United States, due to rising levels of the Delta variant.
Hong Kong has enforced some of the world’s strictest border restrictions since the pandemic began, and that has resulted in relatively low rates of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.
However, two months ago Hong Kong began lifting some of its border restrictions in a bid to reopen to the world. But today’s news suggests that Hong Kong will continue to pursue its zero-covid strategy.
The New Travel Restrictions
Hong Kong currently places nations into risk categories depending on the levels of coronavirus within the country. These include high-risk countries, medium-risk countries, and low-risk countries.
Current High-Risk Countries
- The Philippines
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
From the 20th of August 2021, Hong Kong will add the following countries to the high-risk list.
- The Netherlands
- Sri Lanka
- The United Arab Emirates
- The United States
Hong Kong will continue to categorize most nations outside of China that are not on the high-risk list as medium-risk. Furthermore, Hong Kong has New Zealand and Australia on its low-risk list of countries, but Australia will move to medium-risk from August 20th due to rising cases.
Anyone entering Hong Kong from a high-risk country will have to undergo 21-day mandatory quarantine in a government-run hotel.
Anyone coming from a medium-risk country will have to quarantine for 14 days unless they have a positive antibody test. If so, travelers would only quarantine for 7 days.
These restrictions are in place regardless of a travelers vaccination status, yet many parts of the world are reopening to fully vaccinated travelers. Therefore, Hong Kong is in danger of being left behind.
According to reports, Hong Kong is currently torn between reopening to the world and maintaining zero-covid. Before 2019, Hong Kong was one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and the country attracted 65.15 million arrivals in 2018.
Political instability in 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic has battered Hong Kong’s once-booming tourism industry. In addition, Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub remains uncertain as it continues to close to the rest of the world.
In contrast, Singapore has plans to “live with COVID-19” and revive its tourism industry and economy. Singapore’s vaccination rates are among some of the world’s greatest, and the nation has slowly begun loosening border controls.
The Current COVID-19 Situation In Hong Kong
Hong Kong has only had 12,033 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and as a result, Hong Kong has only had 212 deaths.
However, Hong Kong’s vaccination rates are behind much of Europe and North America. So far, Hong Kong has administered over 6 million vaccinations.
But only 43 percent of Hong Kong’s population is fully vaccinated, and just 55 percent of Hong Kong have received their first vaccination.
The reaction from Hong Kong wasn’t all smiles and joy.
The President of the American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong stated, “This is a devastating announcement in terms of the inability for businesses to plan. We respect the worries over the need to keep infections down, but business and people need to connect overseas and plan for the future.”
The news suggests Hong Kong is still going to be closed for the remainder of 2021, and nobody really knows when Hong Kong will fully reopen for non-essential travel.
Hong Kong is like most of Asia right now — still closed, still restricted, and very few plans ahead to reopen. It doesn’t help that the COVID-19 situation is at its worst in Asia since the pandemic began.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories