Known for its stunning cityscapes, East-meets-West culture and charming junk boat cruises, Hong Kong is often a destination that travelers simply can’t wait to visit. However, for those hoping to explore the region in the near future, they will have to wait just a little bit longer. Hong Kong announced this week that they are to extend the quarantine period for foreign travelers from 14 days to 21 days, as the country tries to avoid the introduction of any new strains of the virus to its population. Here’s a closer look at quarantine in Hong Kong, and what it might mean for travelers.
Extending Quarantine – What Travelers Should Know
As the pandemic rages around the world, and with the spread of Covid-19 showing no signs of stopping, it has become common practice for countries to require travelers to undergo a mandatory quarantine period prior to being able to explore freely. However, whilst many countries are looking at ways to cut the quarantine period shorter to woo tourists back, Hong Kong has extended their quarantine period.
By extending the quarantine period to three weeks instead of two, Hong Kong is hoping to halt the spread of new strains of the virus. The new strains of the virus, like the ones reported in the UK and South Africa, have been found to be more easily transmissible, resulting in cases numbers rising drastically in the countries that have reported the strain.
Hong Kong already recorded two cases of the new Covid-19 strain last week, as two students returned to the country. The students had arrived home after studying in the UK, where it is thought they contracted the virulent mutation of the virus. By extending the quarantine period, it is expected that those who do have the new strain will be unable to spread it amongst the wider population. However, this is not the only measure that Hong Kong has taken.
Flight Bans for UK and South African Travelers
Entry to Hong Kong is already very selective at present, with the likes of residents, family members and diplomats being the only ones allowed into the country. This last week however, the requirements became even more selective, as the region banned all flights from the UK and South Africa.
This is due to the aforementioned strains in these countries. The UK is in a midst of a new wave of the virus, with much of the country under a strict lockdown, and cases regularly above the 30,000 mark. Similarly, South Africa is also getting grips with spiraling case numbers, with the last few days seeing more than 10,000 positive tests confirmed per day. Stopping flights from these countries has been done to stop a similar thing from happening in Hong Kong.
Covid-19 In Hong Kong – What Travelers Should Know
Hong Kong initially coped well with Covid-19, until facing a challenging period in July and August. Having gotten things under control, the region saw a second wave in November and December, which led to a planned travel bubble with Singapore collapsing.
At present, the situation has taken a turn for the better, with just 57 cases recorded on Christmas Day – and with these new regulations in place, the government will be hoping it stays that way. With a three-week quarantine now facing travelers, it’s likely to result in fewer travelers making the trip, or waiting out the storm until the regulations change once more.
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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