Until late last year, Hong Kong was one of the last tourism centers that had layers of restrictions heaped upon potential visitors and residents alike. But onerous COVID-19 policies have been relaxed to the point that two inconveniences — albeit major ones — remain.
As of 30 January, people who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be forced to remain in five-day isolation at any government facility. Instead, given that the Hong Kong government has just reclassified COVID-19 as a severe respiratory disease — downgrading it from being endemic — folks who are visibly suffering from the illness are now recommended to merely stay at home. For those who are in the asymptomatic category, your fellow humans will be none the wiser … at least for the next two days.
Still, the two restrictions that remain on visitors are no fun. Firstly, most of you have to carry a vaccination certificate if you’ve reached your 12th birthday.
Also, there are those darned pre-departure COVID-19 tests to take; 24 hours before arrival for a rapid test — even those at-home kits will do, and 48 hours before arrival for a PCR test. However, there are murmurings that the necessity to take these tests, as well as the quota for crossing land borders between China and Hong Kong, will be sent to kingdom come very soon.
I was looking to visit Hong Kong soon, even with the requirement to take a pre-departure test. However, if there are good tidings about entry restrictions being almost entirely removed, I may postpone my long-overdue visit by a couple of weeks; this rings especially true if there’s an iota of hope that the mainland will stop pretending science is the reason tourist visas shouldn’t be issued.
Those transit without visa schemes, however tempting, just won’t cut it. To wit, there’s a lot of eating to do in Shenzhen, the border town just a short train ride away.
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