Travelers looking to visit Hong Kong will be happy to know that the China-controlled city no longer requires inbound travelers to be quarantined in their hotels upon arrival.
But while that may be true, eager backpackers and sightseers should know that they'll still need to be prepared for COVID testing-a lot of it.
Travelers visiting the Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) will need to take about twelve tests for an eight-day trip, CNBC reported.
These tests, which include four PCR tests and eight antigen tests, are meant to determine whether a visitor is COVID-positive or not. Those who are found to be positive for the virus will then be isolated in a community facility for at least seven days.
Those who are deemed negative will not be subjected to days of isolation, but will still need to stay away from what the government declared as "high-risk" areas such as restaurants and bars for the first three days of their trip.
Despite the testing requirements, Hong Kong is expecting to see more people come to the city again, regardless of their purpose or intentions.
Eased rules attract visitors
Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman Pang Yiu-kai said the eased rules are "expected to initially attract mainly business travelers, family visitors and returning Hong Kong residents."
Removing hotel quarantine rules, however, is not enough to boost Hong Kong's standing as a tourism center in the region. Per American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong executive director Joseph Armas, the remaining regulations need to be removed.
These include those of mainland China's, specifically because of its importance to the SAR.
"Many of the businesses and residents in Hong Kong rely on the mainland, and that travel back and forth is critical to their businesses," Armas told CNBC's "Squawkbox Asia."
Here are the updated rules that Hong Kong started applying on Monday:
Before departing for Hong Kong, travelers must:
- Test negative on a self-administered antigen test and report the result in an online health discussion.
- Acquire a health declaration QR code for use before departure and upon arrival in Hong Kong.
- Be vaccinated, or have a medical exemption certificate
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, travelers must:
- Take a PCR test at the airport upon arrival, followed by succeeding tests on days 2, 4, and 6.
- Take antigen tests daily from day 1 to 7 before leaving.
- Avoid places like restaurants, nightclubs, and salons for the first three days of the trip. This is for medical surveillance.
- Monitor themselves for four days after the first three for signs of COVID.