Quarantine eases for HK people going to Shenzhen

Top News | Maisy Mok 19 Aug 2021

Shenzhen has shortened the hotel quarantine for Hongkongers to 14 days or even seven from the previous 21 as long as they test negative 24 hours before crossing the border.

This comes after Hong Kong ditched a scheme to shorten the hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated airport arrivals who tested positive for antibodies as experts called for daily or twice-daily tests for airport staff.

Before the Shenzhen municipal people's government announced the relaxation of measures yesterday, those entering Shenzhen had to be quarantined in a hotel for 21 days if they do not reside there.

Those who fit Shenzhen's home quarantine criteria can apply for a "7+7+7" quarantine plan under the relaxed measures.

People who have a place to live alone in Shenzhen, have families that are willing to quarantine together or have families willing to move out for the person to quarantine at home fit the criteria.

They could undergo seven days of centralized quarantine and seven days of home quarantine. For the last seven days, they have to monitor their health at home and only go out when necessary.

Separately, the Hong Kong government said it will not launch the provision of a self-paid serology antibody testing service at the airport.

It was originally planned to be implemented yesterday for fully vaccinated arrivals to have a chance to shorten their quarantine stay to seven days upon a positive serology antibody test result. Instead, from tomorrow, the government will suspend the existing arrangement of shortening the quarantine period for people that have taken a self-paid serology antibody test at medical laboratories before departure from Hong Kong on their return to the SAR.

Fully vaccinated travelers who had stayed in medium-risk countries could only have their quarantine period shortened to 14 days upon presentation of recognized vaccination records.

A government spokesman said the Food and Health Bureau had stressed that quarantine periods for arrivals "can no longer be further reduced subject to a positive serology antibody test result."

Only Hong Kong residents are allowed to return from high-risk regions, but they will have to undergo compulsory isolation for 21 days in a quarantine hotel.

Raymond Liu Wai-man, general manager of quarantine hotel Metropark Hotel Kowloon, said on a radio program: "Many customers are trying to change their flight tickets and hotel bookings so they can return on the night of the 19th, returning to Hong Kong before the early morning of the 20th, to enjoy the seven-day quarantine stay.

"To raise the occupancy rate, many hotels would try to accept those seven-day bookings. But hotels with full bookings would not be able to extend the days and have to inform their guests they are not eligible to come here."

Hong Kong recorded three imported cases yesterday, all of them infected with the L452R mutant strain - likely to be found in the Delta variant. They arrived from Turkey and the United States. Another is a sailor.

Joseph Tsang Kay-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association's communicable diseases committee, said he is worried that a previous Delta case recorded in Hong Kong would lead to an outbreak. He was referring to a 47-year-old Cathay Pacific lounge worker confirmed with the Delta strain on Tuesday.


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