HONG KONG: To keep the city connected with the rest of the world, while ensuring an "orderly opening-up," Hong Kong officials said they will soon make an announcement regarding its controversial COVID-19 hotel quarantine policy for all arrivals.
The city's leader, Chief Executive John Lee, said Hong Kong needed to retain its competitiveness, and authorities were keen to bring back events and activities to the city.
"We know exactly where we should be heading and want to be consistent as we move in that direction. We would like to have an orderly opening-up because we don't want to have chaos or
confusion in the process," Lee told reporters.
Remaining consistent with China's zero-COVID policy, Hong Kong still requires travelers from abroad to quarantine upon arrival, as those arriving must pay to stay in a hotel for three days, and follow that with four days of self-monitoring.
According to the South China Morning Post, the hotel requirement will now be scrapped and replaced with seven days of self-monitoring. Business groups, diplomats and many residents have criticized Hong Kong's COVID-19 restrictions, in place since March 2020, especially
the hotel quarantine rules, stressing they threaten the city's standing as a global financial center.
The rules have accelerated the exodus of both expats and local families, which began with Beijing's growing control over the former British colony and limits on freedoms, with official figures showing that some 113,000 people have left since mid-2021.
While rival financial center Singapore is hosting many high-profile conferences this month, benefitting local hotels and restaurants, Hong Kong's COVID restrictions have forced airlines to cancel flights and suspend many key events.