Hong Kong government officials have announced the end of "formal quarantine" in hotels for international visitors after over two years of rigid pandemic mandates, CNN reports.
When the new rules take effect on Sept. 26, incoming international travelers will be allowed to complete the mandated three days of quarantine by self-monitoring instead of quarantining in a hotel. Travelers can complete their three days of self-monitoring at home or a place of their choosing and will also be able to go outside, though some areas will remain restricted. During the three-day self-quarantine, visitors will be assigned an amber color per Hong Kong's digital health code, preventing them from entering certain local places, like bars or restaurants.
Incoming visitors will not be required to provide a negative PCR screening before boarding a plane, but they will need to provide a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) 24 hours before boarding. Travelers will have to take PCR tests on the second, fourth, and sixth day after arrival and a RAT test every day for a week after arrival.
The loosening of COVID-19 regulations for foreign visitors comes after mounting pressure on the Hong Kong government from the city's business community and public health officials.
Speaking at a Friday press conference, Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee announced that the city's infection numbers have stabilized, thus enabling the end of strict quarantine.
"We hope to give the maximum room to reconnect Hong Kong and to revitalize our economy," Lee said.