Hong Kong announced today it will end mandatory hotel quarantine, scrapping some of the world’s toughest travel restrictions.
The move is met with relief by businesses and residents alike.
For the past two and a half years Hong Kong has adhered to a version of China’s strict zero- covid rules which made it mandatory for tourists from overseas to have to quarantine for three days in a hotel.
The announcement leaves mainland China as the only major economy still adhering to lengthy quarantine for international arrivals.
From September 26, travellers will be subject to PCR tests on arrival and will be unable to visit restaurants and bars for the first three days under system authorities have dubbed “0+3”.
But tourists who test positive on arrival will still be isolated in hotel rooms or government camps.
The government also said it was lifting quotas on arrivals from mainland China – but those going in the opposite direction must still quarantine under Beijing’s strict zero covid rules.
Hong Kong once boasted one of the world’s busiest airports but passenger numbers this year are just 3.8 % of pre-pandemic levels.
The websites of both Cathay Pacific and its low-cost wing HK Express saw delays as customers rushed to make bookings following this announcement.