Hong Kong Eases Travel Restrictions, But…

Hong Kong Eases Travel Restrictions, But…

45

For the past two years, Hong Kong has been taking a zero-tolerance approach toward coronavirus. Hong Kong now faces an unprecedented coronavirus outbreak. As we’ve seen several times before from other destinations, this is leading to travel restrictions being eased. Still, don’t expect that you’ll be able to travel to Hong Kong as a tourist anytime soon.

Hong Kong’s horrible coronavirus outbreak

Hong Kong has imposed some of the most extreme travel restrictions of any destination, clearly under the influence of China. In addition to closing borders to visitors:

  • Hong Kong has required a three week quarantine for arriving passengers
  • Hong Kong has banned transit passengers from most countries, and has even banned flights from several countries with a high number of coronavirus cases

At this point Hong Kong is facing what can only be described as an unprecedented omicron outbreak, with the worst mortality rate we’ve seen anywhere since the start of the pandemic:

  • A couple of weeks ago Hong Kong peaked with an average of 65,000 daily coronavirus case
  • Last week Hong Kong peaked with an average of 284 coronavirus deaths per day

For context, the United States has a population roughly 44x that of Hong Kong, meaning that this would be the equivalent of the United States having nearly three million coronavirus cases per day, and roughly 11,000 coronavirus deaths per day.

Hong Kong’s wave is so bad for a couple of main reasons, including lack of natural immunity (due to so few prior infections), plus a low vaccination rate among the most elderly and vulnerable part of the population.

Hong Kong has had all kinds of flight bans in place

Hong Kong easing flight ban & quarantine

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has today outlined plans to ease many travel restrictions. This comes largely due to pressure from the business community, which feels that the current travel restrictions will make Hong Kong lose its significance as a global business hub (obviously!).

Here’s what we can expect with these latest changes as of April 1, 2022:

  • Hong Kong will eliminate the flight ban currently in place for travel from nine countries
  • Hong Kong will lower the quarantine period for arriving travelers to “just” one week, which is quite a reduction (this only applies to those allowed to enter Hong Kong, which doesn’t include visitors, who are still banned)

While this is a step in the right direction, this is still a long way from a full reopening:

  • Singapore is one of the other biggest business hubs in Asia, and the country has largely reopened with limited restrictions, and plans to ease those even further soon, as the current omicron wave dies down
  • This is still a far cry from welcoming visitors, let alone without quarantine, which is needed in order for Hong Kong to actually be a destination that people visit again

Mainland China has clearly used the pandemic to shut off Hong Kong from the rest of the world, and exert more control. So while there are also signs that China may eventually open to the rest of the world again in some form, we’re still a long way from that becoming a reality.

While this is a step in the right direction, personally I’d be surprised if Hong Kong opens to visitors without quarantine anytime in the near future.

Hong Kong will slowly ease restrictions

Bottom line

Hong Kong is slowly starting to ease travel restrictions, after two years of a zero-tolerance approach toward coronavirus. This comes as Hong Kong sees one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks we’ve ever seen anywhere.

While the elimination of flight bans and reduction of quarantine is good news, Hong Kong is still nowhere close to reopening to visitors on a widespread basis. Personally I’m not counting on that happening anytime soon. But who knows, we’ve seen lots of governments do a 180, so maybe I’ll be surprised.

What do you make of Hong Kong easing travel restrictions?

Conversations (45)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. AVGeekHNL New Member

    One of my favorite cities. Sad that it is still closed to US citizens. At least a year away for tourist entry, maybe longer.

  2. Fred Guest

    I assume it is the case, but does anyone know if the "transit ban" has also been lifted (subject to negative test result)? I am meant to be transiting through HK from SYD to TLV in July, and am hoping this is the case!

    1. Mike Guest

      Hi Fred.
      My money is on those flights not happening. Not necessarily because of the transit ban, just the very very low demand on Flights to and from HK.
      If you go to the Cathay website you can see a list of all services to/from Sydney for March, April and May. At the moment they have just one flight a month on that route, and I’m assuming Israel will get minimal service too. From what I am seeing the safest route to TLV is either through Dubai or Istanbul.

  3. RF Diamond

    I miss visiting Hong Kong. Such a great city.
    We really need to know when transiting HKG will resume and when it will be open to tourists.

  4. MissVacation Guest

    How about transit passengers? They banned transit passengers so will that be allowed? I have a flight booked on CX via HK to Bali, debating if I should change the plan now or wait and see?

  5. Ryan Guest

    Welp looks like it will be a Singapore summer. :)

    1. Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai) Member

      Currently on our second Singapore VTL visit, this time for four weeks.

  6. Tobias Salomon Guest

    Any news on whether transit will be allowed by foreign travellers?? Need some CX connections via HKG!!

  7. Ray Guest

    “ Mainland China has clearly used the pandemic to shut off Hong Kong from the rest of the world, and exert more control.”

    What a shortsighted view befitting an American. Hong Kong has been having problems vaccinating the elderly; we’re talking single digit in %age terms here. Their recent outbreak led to spillovers in the Guangdong Bay Area and as far as Shanghai.

    It isn’t so much about social control exerted by the CCP to...

    “ Mainland China has clearly used the pandemic to shut off Hong Kong from the rest of the world, and exert more control.”

    What a shortsighted view befitting an American. Hong Kong has been having problems vaccinating the elderly; we’re talking single digit in %age terms here. Their recent outbreak led to spillovers in the Guangdong Bay Area and as far as Shanghai.

    It isn’t so much about social control exerted by the CCP to punish Hong Kong as it is about preventing a huge wave of elderly deaths and potential spills into the Mainland

    1. David Diamond

      You sound like someone who eats up whatever BS the CCP and Curry Lam feeds them.

      And lest you start accusing me of being an American, this is coming from a HKer.

    2. RF Diamond

      That lower vaccination rate is caused by distrust of government and misinformation.

    3. Dick Bupkiss Guest

      The shitty Chinese vaccines they continue to use -- despite the fact that they are ineffective against omricron -- might have something to do with all those cases, too. But if they switched to a vaccine that actually worked, that would reflect badly on their overlords in Beijing. Can't have reality impose on their magical thinking propaganda, so the deaths roll on. Expect more of this.

  8. Open HKG Guest

    Lock downs, quarantine, masks, etc do not work. Its kicking the can down the road. Open up!

  9. TProphet Guest

    Hong Kong has already lost its significance as a global business hub. It's essentially mainland China. If rule of law also doesn't exist and contracts are no good, why do business there instead of Shanghai if you must do business in China?

    Singapore has filled the gap. Game over.

    1. David Diamond

      While Singapore does fill the gap, Shanghai is no substitute for Hong Kong. For one, the currency control is an issue.

  10. Motion to Dismiss Member

    This is such a shame, and just goes to show how futile covid restrictions have been of late.

  11. Ralph4878 Guest

    So are folks able to transit HKG, or is that still a no-go?

    1. Ralph4878 Guest

      Still seems it is in place through the third week of April, according to CX's website: https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_US/covid-19/hong-kong-travel-restrictions.html

  12. Bill n DC Guest

    Good step and n right direction for my July Birthday RTW to fly CX JFK HKG HND n 1st and use up my 125,000 Asia Miles. Enjoy a couple legs in CX then move on

    Agree that Communist/fascist china is ruining Hong Kong Sad

  13. AJ Member

    This IS NOT directed solely at HK but any country that has taken this "strategy." I find it extremely confusing. So let me get this straight...you take a hardcore approach to covid (cool, i get it!), then you have the US equivalent of ~11k people die PER DAY (yikes!). So your answer is to "ease travel restrictions" (for simplicity... allow more people to come into the country) b/c Hong Kong will lose its "significance as...

    This IS NOT directed solely at HK but any country that has taken this "strategy." I find it extremely confusing. So let me get this straight...you take a hardcore approach to covid (cool, i get it!), then you have the US equivalent of ~11k people die PER DAY (yikes!). So your answer is to "ease travel restrictions" (for simplicity... allow more people to come into the country) b/c Hong Kong will lose its "significance as a global business hub?" I'm not suggesting I have the right/best answer to this situation (or any answer for that matter) but I feel like the 'everyone is dieing, let's just open up' approach misses a few steps.

    1. Jerry Diamond

      I believe the situation in Hong Kong indicates that their tightly closed border scheme has failed.

    2. HkCaGu Guest

      You're looking at this the wrong way. Now HK is at the peak of the world, tested, returning "residents" are less risky than the local population. (Over half the population has already been infected!) In fact, it's a very high risk to go there right now if you haven't caught omicron before.

    3. David Diamond

      Because everything is a risk vs. reward. Some governments still believe zero tolerance works for whatever reason, so they keep the borders shut even if costs them business, connectivity and travel revenue. However, if there's a MASSIVE, uncontrollable outbreak occurring within the border, then what good does a shut border do? It doesn't make it safer, as the local populace is even more likely to be infected vs travelers, all while having all the cons...

      Because everything is a risk vs. reward. Some governments still believe zero tolerance works for whatever reason, so they keep the borders shut even if costs them business, connectivity and travel revenue. However, if there's a MASSIVE, uncontrollable outbreak occurring within the border, then what good does a shut border do? It doesn't make it safer, as the local populace is even more likely to be infected vs travelers, all while having all the cons of a closed border.

  14. Morgan Gold

    Well isn't it also because in Hong Kong you have to go to hospital if you get Covid regardless of the symptoms (don't know if this has been abolished or not).

    But this is a step in the right direction from Hong Kong.

  15. Michael Guest

    @Ben, you missed something crucial.

    Starting April 1, you're correct that bans from those 9 countries, including the US, will be scrapped.
    You're also correct that quarantine will be cut from 14 days to 7 days (with specific testing requirements while in quarantine).

    But only Hong Kong residents will be able to travel to Hong Kong (and go into the 7 day quarantine). No foreign travelers allowed, unlike Japan for example who allow limited...

    @Ben, you missed something crucial.

    Starting April 1, you're correct that bans from those 9 countries, including the US, will be scrapped.
    You're also correct that quarantine will be cut from 14 days to 7 days (with specific testing requirements while in quarantine).

    But only Hong Kong residents will be able to travel to Hong Kong (and go into the 7 day quarantine). No foreign travelers allowed, unlike Japan for example who allow limited entry for foreigns for business travel.

    A step in the right direction, but too little, too late and still misses the mark. Carrie Lam needs to go.

    https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2022/03/20220321/20220321_124502_138.html

    1. Jance Guest

      Carrie Lam needs the same fix that Vladimir Putin needs: a bullet in the head from some brave patriot.

  16. Charles Guest

    It’s sad that such a nice city like Hong Kong will never be the same again because of Chinese control..

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      COVID is never going away, but once the restrictions finally end Hong Kong will be like it was for visitors, at least for a while.

      For citizens? Sadly, no, their lives will never be the same.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Speaking of a city like Hong Kong.

      Just like Putin and his oligarchs who deserves to be condemn and sanctioned for invading Ukraine. Shouldn't Queen Victoria and her descendants be cancelled and condemned for invading Hong Kong? (And the excuse of trying to sell 'illegal' opium)

      Or it's okay because it happened centuries ago. But then why do we cancel the Confederate Generals but not Queen Victoria?

    3. Jay Guest

      Colonialism in general is bad, but HK was one of those few places that actually benefited from combining the British rule of law and the hardworking and ingenuity of the local Chinese population. Imagine if Mainland China had a Taiwan style government (post 1996)?

    4. Eskimo Guest

      The "imagine what if?" is useless comparison because it's too hard to tell.

      Did HK benefit from British rule. Definitely.
      Would it been better or worse under Chinese rule, nobody knows.

      I can't comment on how Mainland China had a Taiwan style government (post 1996) would be like. I do know they frequently throw fist fights in the Taiwanese parliament. I'm not too optimistic in having government officials flexing muscles to win debates have...

      The "imagine what if?" is useless comparison because it's too hard to tell.

      Did HK benefit from British rule. Definitely.
      Would it been better or worse under Chinese rule, nobody knows.

      I can't comment on how Mainland China had a Taiwan style government (post 1996) would be like. I do know they frequently throw fist fights in the Taiwanese parliament. I'm not too optimistic in having government officials flexing muscles to win debates have nuclear weapons at their disposal. Just look at Putin right now.

      And by the way, in 100 years if Ukraine thrives under Russian rule, would you have praised Putin for the invasion?
      You did agree colonialism in general is bad. Ever consider condemning Queen Victoria?

    5. Jones Guest

      Nobody brought up the UK except for Eskimo trying to shift the subject matter. Whether the UK should be condemned for colonial rule is irrelevant to whether the CCP and President Shit is worthy of condemnation.

    6. David Diamond

      @Eskimo

      Nobody knows? Of course people know. Look at Mainland China. Hong Kong would've been an extension of that and just another poor Chinese city.

      As a Hong Konger, I can tell you most Hong Kongers did not want Hong Kong returned to China, and now Hong Kongers identifying themselves as such (as opposed to Chinese) are at a higher level than ever.

      Putin is being condemned because it may potentially change the outcome of...

      @Eskimo

      Nobody knows? Of course people know. Look at Mainland China. Hong Kong would've been an extension of that and just another poor Chinese city.

      As a Hong Konger, I can tell you most Hong Kongers did not want Hong Kong returned to China, and now Hong Kongers identifying themselves as such (as opposed to Chinese) are at a higher level than ever.

      Putin is being condemned because it may potentially change the outcome of Ukrainians, while condemning Queen Victoria is a pointless exercise.

    7. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      Another poor Chinese city?
      Or it could have been Guangzhou?
      For better or worse, nobody knows. Don't draw conclusions, it can't.
      But I do agree, in this current historical situation, most HKers don't want to return. I wouldn't either.

      And I draw comparison of Queen Victoria and the Confederate generals who are being cancelled today.

      @Jones

      UK was implied from @Charles comparison. While probably irrelevant to CCP, I'm merely pointing out...

      @David

      Another poor Chinese city?
      Or it could have been Guangzhou?
      For better or worse, nobody knows. Don't draw conclusions, it can't.
      But I do agree, in this current historical situation, most HKers don't want to return. I wouldn't either.

      And I draw comparison of Queen Victoria and the Confederate generals who are being cancelled today.

      @Jones

      UK was implied from @Charles comparison. While probably irrelevant to CCP, I'm merely pointing out how the British Empire invaded HK just like Russia invaded Ukraine today. Putin deserves condemnation, shouldn't Queen Victoria deserve the same? Or we are living in a double standard world and lying to ourselves about justification.

    8. David Diamond

      @Eskimo

      Yes, another poor Chinese city. Guangzhou has half the GDP per capita of HK, and that's only after the last 2 decades of explosive growth. It has suffered more than 80 years of poverty before that.

      The comparison would stand if instead of slavery and poverty and discrimination, the Confederate generals brought freedom, rule of law and prosperity to black Americans, which they absolutely did not.

    9. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      And that last 2 decades (assume it holds, another what if) would put Canton in a even higher trajectory than HK in the last century right?
      Again discussing a what-if past is pointless.

      There is also no way to draw conclusions of what would happen if Confederates won the war. They could have conquered Europe or lost to British, who knows.

      And like I question earlier, in 100 years if Ukraine thrives under...

      @David

      And that last 2 decades (assume it holds, another what if) would put Canton in a even higher trajectory than HK in the last century right?
      Again discussing a what-if past is pointless.

      There is also no way to draw conclusions of what would happen if Confederates won the war. They could have conquered Europe or lost to British, who knows.

      And like I question earlier, in 100 years if Ukraine thrives under Russian rule, would you have praised Putin for the invasion?
      Just because the British Empire improved HK, the invasion is justifiable?
      That's it.

    10. David Diamond

      Discussing what-if past is pointless, but discussing whether we should cancel a dead Queen is not?

    11. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      Still waiting for your response to my question earlier, in 100 years if Ukraine thrives under Russian rule, would you have praised Putin for the invasion?

      And I brought up cancelling a dead Queen because we already justified cancelling dead Confederate Generals in the present, not the past.
      Or we are living in a double standard world and lying to ourselves about justification.

    12. David Diamond

      Only if you first answer whether Ukrainians want to live under Russian rule.

      What does your question have anything to do with anything in this entire article?

    13. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      I've answered all your question on how this is connected.
      By avoiding to answer my question few times, you probably got my message. So nothing more I need to say.

      I stand by HK who wants to preserve their way of life. But don't forget, you are also judging others with double standards at the same time.

    14. David Diamond

      How about you Americans decide which of your historical figures you want to cancel, and Brits and HKers decide which of our historical figures we want to cancel. ;)

    15. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      The exact example of double standards.

      Your same statement can be said with slightly different wording.
      Would you still stand by your statement?

      "How about you Russians decide which territory you want to invade, and NATO and US decide which territory we want to invade. ;) "

    16. David Diamond

      Only double standards if you throw all rational thinking out the door. Who you choose to cancel does not infringe on any other countries' sovereign rights. I'll do you one better, if you want to drum up support to cancel Queen Victoria in the USA, go right ahead. #CancelQueenVictoria, have at it!

    17. Jay Guest

      I would condemn Queen Victoria if she was directly responsible for pumping opium into the Qing Empire. No one will ever argue that what the British Empire did in strong-arming opium trade correct a trade deficit was ever a good thing. It was one of the most evil things to happen in the scope of colonialism, but the Convention of Peking ultimately set the events in motion of developing Hong Kong from a barren rock...

      I would condemn Queen Victoria if she was directly responsible for pumping opium into the Qing Empire. No one will ever argue that what the British Empire did in strong-arming opium trade correct a trade deficit was ever a good thing. It was one of the most evil things to happen in the scope of colonialism, but the Convention of Peking ultimately set the events in motion of developing Hong Kong from a barren rock to a world-class city. Yes, I am quite aware that local Chinese were treated as second-class citizens in Hong Kong right up until World War II.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Charles Guest

It’s sad that such a nice city like Hong Kong will never be the same again because of Chinese control..

8
David Diamond

You sound like someone who eats up whatever BS the CCP and Curry Lam feeds them. And lest you start accusing me of being an American, this is coming from a HKer.

3
Dick Bupkiss Guest

The shitty Chinese vaccines they continue to use -- despite the fact that they are ineffective against omricron -- might have something to do with all those cases, too. But if they switched to a vaccine that actually worked, that would reflect badly on their overlords in Beijing. Can't have reality impose on their magical thinking propaganda, so the deaths roll on. Expect more of this.

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT