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Visitor quarantine to be eased

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government is preparing to relax the compulsory quarantine requirement for people arriving in Hong Kong from overseas and the Mainland.   Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon, noting that the quarantine period for those from low-risk countries can be shortened to seven days.   Mrs Lam said: “As far as the low and medium-risk countries (are concerned), the low-risk countries, that (are) Singapore, New Zealand and Australia, have already started with a 14-day quarantine instead of a 21-day quarantine from April 9.   “In due course, when we announce this further relaxation based on vaccination, then these three low-risk countries will move on to a seven-day instead of a 14-day (quarantine). But I cannot tell you an exact date (of implementation). We have to work out some of the details.   “And for the medium-risk (countries), at the moment (it is) still a 21-day (quarantine).   “Again, in due course we will announce from a day onwards, if (people) come from these countries, normally we would expect these are the countries that have not had these (virus) variants of concern, and from that point onwards, they will be subject to a 14-day instead of a 21-day quarantine.   “But I want to assure you that we will remain equally vigilant, even with the reduced quarantine period by imposing more tests.”   Mrs Lam also expects to be able to announce more details about the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble soon.   “For the travel bubble arrangement’s progress, at the moment, it is only with Singapore because we did have a scheme very much ready for implementation with Singapore before the fourth wave (of the epidemic) hit us in the latter part of November. So I understand that the Commissioner for Tourism has had a very good discussion with the Singaporean government and I hope to be able to announce some details very soon.”   The Chief Executive also announced that the Goverment will launch a scheme whereby Mainlanders or those in the Mainland would no longer be required to undergo the compulsory quarantine upon arrival.   “For the scheme to allow Mainlanders or people in the Mainland to come to Hong Kong without being subject to the 14-day quarantine arrangement, we will not specify what type of travellers (will be eligible).   “But they have to get a quota from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s scheme and they have to have a negative COVID-19 test (result), then they can come.”
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