HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government has shortened the Covid-19 quarantine period for incoming travelers to three days, laying out measures to further simplify strict border controls, but fell short of what companies say is needed to restore its reputation as Asia’s leading global financial center.
Travelers arriving in Hong Kong will be allowed to leave designated quarantine hotels after three days, instead of the current seven days, officials announced at a Monday morning briefing. During this period, they said, they will not be allowed to enter places that now require vaccine passes, such as gyms, bars and restaurants.
The city’s reputation has taken a hit in recent months, both by upholding strict antivirus controls under Beijing’s “zero-coronavirus” policy, and by efforts to maintain its status as an open and globally connected business base. attractive. As much of the world returns to normal, Hong Kong’s border controls and the risk it could resort to a mainland-style lockdown and other measures have caused public frustration and prompted many skilled workers to leave.
Business groups say that while any reduction in quarantine is better than nothing, Hong Kong’s competitive advantage as a regional base for businesses and an international financial centre (IFC) is being eroded as restrictions remain in place for longer.
“Being able to travel abroad without restrictions is a fundamental prerequisite for IFC,” said Sally Wong, chief executive of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, before the announcement. “Only by dropping the word ‘quarantine’ completely can we truly rebuild HK Inc. s brand.”
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