Taking its cue from mainland China, Hong Kong is also scrapping COVID-19 regulations from today, meaning PCR tests will no longer be mandatory for arrivals, and vaccination passes will no longer be required.
All measures, including social distancing, will be canceled today, while mask-wearing will remain mandatory. For nearly three years, Hong Kong has generally followed China’s lead in battling Coronavirus, making the two places the last holdouts of zero-COVID policies.
The strict rules, from border closures to extensive testing, have hurt Hong Kong’s economy since early 2020, encouraging businesses, expatriates, and residents to flee amid Beijing’s efforts to tighten control on the city. This long-awaited lift comes as a relief to many living and traveling in Hong Kong.
What does the future hold for Hong Kong?
Hong Kong’s city leader, John Lee shared, “The time is appropriate for us to do this, having prepared for six months to do this” adding, “Hong Kong has a sufficient amount of medicine to fight COVID, and healthcare workers have gained rich experience in facing the pandemic.”.
By January 15, the government plans to reopen the borders with mainland China, working closely with authorities at the border to make sure the upcoming reopening is seamless.