HK to quarantine Taiwan arrivals in hotels, travel bubble in doubt


A man wears a face mask as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19, as he walks past an aisle of check-in counters at Hong Kong’s international airport on March 24, 2020. - AFP

HONG KONG (China Daily/ANN): Inbound arrivals from Taiwan will have to quarantine at designated hotels for two weeks as Covid-19 flare-ups are reported on the island, Hong Kong’s health secretary said on Friday (May 14) even as a planned travel bubble with Singapore increasingly came under doubt.

Currently, travellers from Taiwan are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at home and get tested before coming out of it.

The change in policy came as Taiwan recorded an all-time high of 29 local cases on Friday.

The new rule is expected to take effect within two days, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee told lawmakers at a Legislative Council meeting.

The travellers concerned will also need to be tested three times while quarantined in hotels as also on their 16th and 19th days of arrival.

The announcement came a day after the Macao government sent all arrivals from Taiwan to quarantine at designated places and ordered a seven-day self-monitoring period thereafter.

Also on Friday, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah, citing a Singaporean minister, said Hong Kong’s air travel bubble arrangement with Singapore scheduled to take off on May 26, is likely to be delayed again.

Yau attributed the possible delay to a recent surge in fresh infections in Singapore. Hong Kong and Singapore officials are scheduled to meet early next week to review the situation.

“The Singaporean minister told me there might be a high chance that the bubble arrangement may not be able to resume as scheduled, ” Yau told reporters after an event.

Singapore’s health ministry on Thursday reported 24 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, with 17 of them linked to a cluster at its Changi Airport.

On Friday, Hong Kong reported one new imported Covid-19 case, bringing the overall infection tally in the city to 11,818.

The sole new patient was a 43-year-old asymptomatic man flying from the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement issued by the Centre for Health Protection.

As the pandemic continues to rage overseas, the Hong Kong government ramped up its testing requirements for people undergoing hotel quarantine.

In addition to the existing “test-and-hold” arrangement at the airport, new arrivals now face more tests during quarantine, including one on the third day of arrival.

“Depending on the risk levels of places where the persons arriving at Hong Kong depart from and the applicable compulsory quarantine periods, the number of tests these persons subject to during compulsory quarantine will also be increased to two (for seven-day compulsory quarantine period) to four times (for 21-day compulsory quarantine period), ” the government said in a statement issued late Thursday.

This apart, fully vaccinated arrivals quarantined for shorter periods would also need to undergo additional testing after completing quarantine. - China Daily/Asia News Network

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Hong Kong , Taiwan , Singapore , quarantine , travel , bubble

   

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