Hong Kong has just announced that most remaining COVID-19 related arrivals procedures will be dropped as of tomorrow, December 29, 2022. This includes a health declaration form, a PCR test on-arrival, a Day 2 PCR test, and uploading rapid antigen test results onto an online portal (though travelers are still encouraged to upload their rapid antigen tests). However, a pre-departure rapid antigen test (RAT), mask wearing, and isolation upon testing positive are still required.
This move is being applied simultaneously with China’s sudden opening up of borders, in order to facilitate a free flow of travelers between Hong Kong and the mainland.
This will no longer be the sight upon entry at Hong Kong Airport
Restrictions that will no longer apply to inbound Hong Kong travelers from tomorrow
These restrictions will no longer apply starting from December 29, 2022:
- A health declaration form (it’s…no longer mandatory, which suggests it’s optional?)
- An on-arrival and Day 2 PCR test
- Isolation orders if a close contact (e.g. someone living with you) tests positive
- A cap on public gatherings within Hong Kong
Restrictions that will remain in place from tomorrow onwards
Here are the restrictions that will remain in place:
- A pre-departure rapid antigen test (RAT)
- An isolation order (at home/place of residence, not a designated facility) if you test positive
- A mask mandate across the city (indoors and outdoors, except when eating and drinking)
- A ban on unvaccinated travelers
Hong Kong is planning to fully reopen borders with mainland China
Hong Kong is looking at a January 10 re-opening date for its border with mainland China. Afterwards, priority will be given to travelers with business and family needs.
Entry Restrictions for Hong Kong-ers into Other Destinations
As you’d expect, Hong Kong is reeled into a couple of measures that are also being imposed on China, due to the to-be-fully-open borders. Here are the countries that have stated extra restrictions on arrivals from Hong Kong:
- India: All passengers from Hong Kong, as well as from China, S. Korea, Japan and Thailand, are required to undergo a PCR test on arrival into India, in response to a surge in cases.
- Japan: There are no additional restrictions for Hong Kong-ers who want to enter Japan (including a PCR test), though direct flights from Hong Kong to Japan have been restricted to Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, Osaka, and Nagoya. This is in response to China’s surge in cases and sudden relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Conclusion: Hong Kong’s COVID-19 Arrivals
It’s great to see that Hong Kong is dropping remaining COVID-19 restrictions, though there are still a couple of policies that separate traveling to Hong Kong from traveling anywhere else in the world at the moment. These measures are likely to remain in place.
In addition, I’m not surprised to see several countries react as they expect a surge in cases from Hong Kong, as well as mainland China, especially given how popular Hong Kong is as a transit destination from the mainland.
Whether people like it or not, travel to/from Hong Kong and the mainland seems to be returning back to normal!