Hong Kong Government Press Release
3rd February 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Government announced this morning that the requirement for non-Hong Kong residents to be fully vaccinated for coming to Hong Kong from overseas places will be lifted starting 6th February. However, the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan will be maintained for the time being.
The overall epidemic situation in Hong Kong has continued to stabilise. The total number of cases has not rebounded despite the drastic increase in the number of inbound persons. Moreover, inbound persons have not exerted additional pressure on the local public healthcare system. The Government considered that there is room for the complete lifting of the vaccination requirement for inbound non-Hong Kong residents.
From 6th February (Hong Kong time), the Government will lift the requirement for non-Hong Kong residents to be fully vaccinated for coming to Hong Kong from overseas places. At present, inbound persons from the Mainland, Macao or Taiwan are not required to be vaccinated. In other words, starting 6th February, no inbound travellers will be subject to any vaccination requirement, regardless of where they come from before coming to Hong Kong. However, the testing requirement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan will be maintained at this juncture.
The Government will gazette the relevant specification notice under the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) to effect the above measures.
Meanwhile, the Government announced today that the normal travel of persons between Hong Kong and the Mainland will be fully resumed starting from February 6. All pre-departure testing requirements for travelling between the two places will also be lifted at the same time. Except for persons who have stayed in overseas places or Taiwan on the day of entering the Mainland or during the seven days before that day, other cross-boundary travellers will not be required to conduct any pre-departure test for travelling between the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. Meanwhile, the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan will be maintained at this juncture.
Since the implementation of the first-phase resumption of normal travel on 8th January, the overall epidemic situation in Hong Kong did not deteriorate and the total number of cases has been decreasing. The number of imported cases constitutes barely a low proportion (2.6 per cent) of the overall local cases, and only 16 per cent of the imported cases were from the Mainland, showing that the importation risk from the Mainland is relatively lower. On the other hand, there is no sign of a significant increase in the number of non-eligible persons (i.e. non-Hong Kong residents) who seek consultation in the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals under the Hospital Authority, thus no additional pressure was posed on the local public healthcare system.
After the implementation of full resumption of normal travel on 6th February, all inbound persons from the Mainland or Macao will no longer be required to conduct any pre-departure nucleic acid tests or rapid antigen tests (RATs). However, for persons travelling from Hong Kong to the Mainland (except those aged 3 and below), if they have stayed in overseas places or Taiwan on the day of departing Hong Kong for the Mainland or during the seven days before that day, they will still be required to conduct a nucleic acid test within 48 hours prior to departure and obtain a negative result as per the Mainland’s requirements.
The self-paid nucleic acid test conducted in Hong Kong should meet the following criteria:
- The test must be conducted within 48 hours before the scheduled flight departure time (for those entering the Mainland via airport) or arrival time (for those entering the Mainland via other boundary control points);
- The test specimen must be a throat swab, nasopharyngeal swab or combined nasal and throat swab collected by dedicated staff; and
- The test result must be negative, and the test report must be issued by local COVID-19 testing institutions recognised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (including community testing centres/community testing stations in various districts) for conducting reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing.
Meanwhile, in order to uphold the joint prevention and control efforts and ensure a proper management of risks, the testing requirements for inbound persons from overseas places and Taiwan will remain unchanged. That is, except those who aged 3 and below on the day of arrival at Hong Kong, all inbound persons from overseas places or Taiwan are required to conduct an RAT within 24 hours (or as an alternative, undergo a nucleic acid test within 48 hours) prior to the scheduled time of flight departure (for those entering Hong Kong via the airport) or the time of arrival at Hong Kong (for those entering Hong Kong via other boundary control points), and obtain a negative result for coming to Hong Kong. Such a pre-departure test requirement will be maintained for a certain period for observation, and the Government will review the requirement in due course.
The Government will gazette the relevant specification notice under the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) to effect the above measures.