Hong Kong tightens entry restrictions on Sri Lanka
In another change of strategy, quarantine for fully vaccinated people returning from medium- and low-risk countries will also be increased to 14 days, based on a recommendation by the Centre for Health Protection’s (CHP) scientific committees. The government is planning to implement the measure “as soon as possible”.
The tougher new regime for the 16 countries, the second change to quarantine rules for overseas travellers in eight days, was unveiled on Monday following the infection of a domestic worker who had returned to Hong Kong from the US earlier this month. The helper was fully and tested positive for antibodies but she was confirmed as infected on Saturday last week after completing seven days in quarantine.
“After considering a basket of factors, the government has decided to upgrade the risk grouping of 16 overseas places to impose more stringent boarding, quarantine and testing requirements on relevant inbound travellers in order to uphold the local barrier against the importation of Covid-19,” a government spokesman said.
A global surge in coronavirus cases involving the more infectious Delta variant had fuelled calls by local health experts to move the US to a higher risk category to prevent any cases from slipping into the community.
In all, 15 countries will see their status changed from medium to high risk: the US, France, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Greece, Iran, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania and Turkey. Australia will be vaulted from low to medium risk.
The stricter system means travellers from the 15 new high-risk nations must be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days before boarding a flight to Hong Kong, then undergo 21 days of quarantine in a designated hotel upon arrival, with four tests during isolation and another one on the 26th day after landing in the city.
The countries already in the high-risk category are: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa and Britain. (South China Morning Post)