Pre-departure virus clearance a must for visitors from US

Local | 22 Jul 2020 5:22 pm

Passengers heading to Hong Kong from United States and Kazakhstan from next week will have to present proof of a negative coronavirus test before they can board the plane, the government has announced.

The tightening of this travel restriction – which will come into effect from July 29 – was announced by Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee amid criticism that loopholes in the quarantine policy has led to a third wave of virus patients in the city.

Under the new regulation, people arriving from the US and Kazakhstan will first need proof of a negative nucleic acid test for the virus, as well as proof that they reserved a hotel room for at least 14 days.

Now only passengers arriving from places identified as high risk, like Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa, need to undergo this.

The negative certificate has to be obtained within 72 hours before their departure.

Chan announced the addition of the two countries to the list while unveiling tougher measures to contain coronavirus outbreaks in the city, which continues to rage.

Hong Kong’s move comes a day after mainland authorities said air passengers from all across the world will have to provide negative virus test results before boarding China-bound flights.
This is bound hit air travel further as countries struggle with testing capacity and speed. In parts of the United States, receipt of test results can take up to two weeks.

In some other countries, nucleic acid tests are reserved for people who have come in close contact with Covid-19 patients or who have symptoms of the potentially fatal disease.

The US has been struggling to contain outbreaks of Covid cases across the country while Chinese embassy had warned of a deadlier form of pneumonia being reported in Kazakhstan.

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