Hong Kong eases covid travel restrictions


After more than two years of rigid pandemic rules, arrivals to Hong Kong will be allowed to move around the city freely if they test negative for the coronavirus, the city’s chief executive, John Lee, told reporters Tuesday.

In a sudden turnaround, Hong Kong residents will also no longer be required to scan the “Leave Home Safe” tracking app when entering local shops or restaurants.

While there are still some restrictions in Hong Kong, such as mandated masking, the financial center is joining mainland China in a broader push toward easing restrictions.

Travelers to Hong Kong have endured various restrictions, the harshest of which was a 21-day quarantine upon entry. The city scrapped this requirement in September, moving to a “0+3” rule, which meant that arrivals could not step into restaurants, bars or other venues for three days while they performed medical monitoring but were otherwise free to move around.

Lee said the decision to ease that rule was made after an analysis of infection risks by the city’s health officials. The infection risk from “imported cases is actually lower than risk of added local infections within a community,” he said at a news conference, through an interpreter.

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