Hong Kong will shorten the Covid-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals to three days from seven, taking another step to gradually unwind stringent pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub.
The measures will be effective from Friday, the city's leader, John Lee, told a news conference.
Arrivals will need to self monitor for a further four days, during which they will be forbidden to enter such premises as restaurants and bars.
"We need to balance between people's livelihood and the competitiveness of Hong Kong to give the community maximum momentum and economic vitality," Mr Lee said.
People in quarantine will be issued a red code on a government mandated app. This will change to a yellow code once they leave quarantine, signifying they may not enter crowded premises.
Quarantine was formerly as long as three weeks. Currently, all arrivals must spend at least a week in hotel quarantine and comply with frequent testing orders, provide faecal samples for babies and fill out multiple forms.
Only a select number of hotels are available for quarantine.
Rooms are costly and are typically booked out months in advance. Payment is made up front and refunds are not permitted unless there is a change in government policy or flight cancellation.
Hong Kong's competitiveness has been hammered by the pandemic measures, business executives have said, hoping Mr Lee,the city's leader since 1 July, would scrap the quarantine rules.
The city's border has been almost completely sealed since 2020, with international arrivals facing tough quarantine and testing protocols. It is one of the last places in the world still imposing quarantine for arrivals.
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