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Hong Kong eases Covid quarantine rules for incoming travellers

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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Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsizes after being towed from Hong Kong port
A video frame grab from AFPTV footage show Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant, an iconic but aging tourist attraction designed like a Chinese imperial palace, being towed out of Aberdeen Harbour on June 14, 2022, after years of revitalization effo HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant has capsized in the South China Sea less than a week after it was towed away from the city, its parent company said Monday.The restaurant encountered "adverse conditions" on Saturday as it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, and water entered the vessel and it began to tip, according to Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd.The company said no one was injured, but that efforts to save the vessel failed and it capsized on Sunday."As the water depth at the scene is over 1,000 meters, (it makes it) extremely difficult to carry out salvage works," it said in a statement.It said the company "is very saddened by this accident."File: The Jumbo floating restaurant, Aberdeen Bay, seen in 1991. (Photo by Edgar MC TRESSIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) The Jumbo Floating Restaurant, almost 80 meters (260 feet) in length, had been a landmark in Hong Kong for over four decades, serving Cantonese cuisine to over 3 million guests including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise.It closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and laid off all its staff.
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