Smart move by HKG to open HK for biz, most fully vaccinated are safe, most fatalities from people REFUSED to get vaccinated put themselves and others at risk 香港政府開放商業活動是明智之舉，完全接種疫苗的人都是安全的，大多數因拒絕接種疫苗而死亡的人將自己和他人置於危險之中不應善待
HK scraps requirement for COVID test at airport; quarantine-free travel to mainland ‘still needs time’ by GT staff reporters Dec 13 2022
Hong Kong on Tuesday December 13th said the city was scrapping the requirement for nucleic acid testing at airport and border control points before visiting the Chinese mainland and Macao. The same day, the city also announced to scrap its amber health code from Wednesday, effectively lifting all travel restrictions for arrivals into the city who test negative.
Hong Kong’s epidemiologists predicted it will still take some time before quarantine-free travel is implemented between the mainland and Hong Kong, as the mainland’s epidemic situation is not certain yet, and such progress takes time.
Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau announced that COVID-19 test points at ports to the mainland and Macao will be scrapped on Tuesday, which means travelers to the mainland and Macao will be exempted from pre-departure testing at immigration control points, and only need to present a negative result of a nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours before the travel.
However, travelers from overseas to Hong Kong will still need to undergo PCR tests on arrival and on day two, Lo said.
The decision was announced at the same day when Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced that Hong Kong will abandon its amber health code arrangement on all incoming travelers, while the residents will no longer need to use the LeaveHomeSafe app to scan QR codes before entering various premises starting Wednesday.
Currently, Hong Kong has a “0+3” arrangement under which all arrivals need to self-monitor for possible COVID-19 infection for three days upon entering the city. The scrapping of the amber code, which currently requires all arrivals to undergo three days of health observation and nucleic tests, means they will be subject to almost no restrictions while moving about in the city after landing.
According to travel platform Qunar, as of 4 pm Tuesday, air ticket searches for Hong Kong increased by 30 percent from Monday after Hong Kong rolled out the new measures.
The chief executive stressed that “the risk of imported cases in Hong Kong is even lower than that of getting infected in the community. Therefore, canceling the amber code will not increase the risk of residents getting infected in the city.”
Talking about reopening of the border with the mainland, Lee said we must be aware that “decisions made are similarly based on actual situation, and also data and risk assessment in cities on the mainland.” The government was pushing ahead with the issues concerned, he added.
Jin Dongyan, a virologist and professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times that it is yet to be seen how the infection will develop in the mainland after it released 10 new measures for its COVID-19 response last week. Quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland has been pushed forward, but it should be done step by step, not swiftly.
The epidemiologist said Hong Kong also needs to adjust its COVID-19 control measures after it scrapped off the amber code, and the result needs time to be observed.
Lee announced on Sunday that freight drivers could drive directly to destinations in the mainland without being stopped at borders, as the Shenzhen government relaxed logistics restrictions.
Under the previous policies, Hong Kong’s cross-border drivers travelling to Shenzhen needed to hand over their goods to mainland drivers at the border to let them finish driving to cargo sites for loading and discharging.
At a press conference on Saturday, Lee claimed there is a “great realistic chance” for quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland next year.