CE John Lee: Hotel quarantine cut to 3 days

In today’s press conference, Chief Executive John Lee announced today that starting August 12, people arriving in Hong Kong from Taiwan or overseas places will have to spend three days in hotel quarantine instead of the current seven.

After three nights at a quarantine hotel, arrivals can go home or stay in a non-quarantine hotel, but for the next four days, they must undergo medical surveillance. During the medical surveillance period, arrivals will be given an amber code on their LeaveHomeSafe mobile app to restrict their movements.

While they can go out during these four days and take public transportation, they cannot visit premises that proactively check the Vaccine Pass, such as restaurants, bars, and fitness centers.

In addition, they cannot visit residential care homes for the elderly and people with disabilities, schools, or designated healthcare premises.

People holding an amber code who are working or studying at the above premises, or receiving services at designated healthcare premises, are not subject to the restriction under the Vaccine Pass.

However, their entry will also depend on whether the employers or persons in charge of individual premises have set additional rules or requirements according to their needs.

Moreover, such arrivals will have to take repeated nucleic acid tests as well as rapid antigen tests, and their health code will change to red if they test positive for COVID-19, meaning they must be put under isolation.

Explaining the new quarantine measures at a press conference today, Mr. Lee said: “In our consideration of how long the duration of hotel quarantine (for incoming arrivals) should be, I have explained in detail the five (points of) consideration in the whole Government’s anti-epidemic measures.

“That is, we will control (the risk of an outbreak) the best we can, using different measures so as to reduce the burden on our hospital services.

“Those who are infected (with COVID-19) will have to remain (in) isolation locations and those who are not infected will be given (an amber) code so as to allow (them to have) some social activities provided that they do not take part in mask-off activities and the other conditions which I have mentioned.

“There will certainly be ups and downs in the number of infected cases. We will be monitoring that closely.”

Mr. Lee stressed that he believes the new measure is a way of striking a balance between minimizing the risks of COVID-19 transmission and keeping Hong Kong a competitive city.

“What we have recommended now – the three days (of) quarantine in designated hotels – is after examining the scientific evidence and the data, which gives us the indication that the risk factor of people having finished three days’ quarantine in designated hotels, (is that their) risk level is actually no more than the risk level of (COVID-19) transmission in society.

“Based on this analysis, we consider the risk (will be brought) under control and balance it against the need for other activities to take place. This new measure of three (days of hotel quarantine) plus four (days of home medical surveillance) will be in the best interest of Hong Kong.

“The main purpose (of this new measure) is (that) while we control the threat to public health, we also want to ensure the society can have the maximum degree of economic and social activities and the competitiveness of Hong Kong can be maintained.”