Mask order to be scrapped in March/April, quarantine order for COVID-19 infected patients to be revoked after Lunar New Year, sources

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18th January 2023 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 epidemic has plagued Hong Kong for more than three years, and the government still maintains the mask order and quarantine order for COVID-19 infected patients. It is reported that the Hong Kong government plans to revoke the mandatory isolation requirements for COVID-19 infected patients after the Lunar New Year. At that time, it will consider dealing with existing isolation facilities, suspending designated clinics and remote diagnosis services, and canceling the mask order from March to April.

In addition, China and Hong Kong have resumed quarantine-free border reopening, and citizens who cross border must hold a 48-hour negative nucleic acid test result. However, due to the sharp decrease in the number of nucleic acid testing stations in the Mainland, and the approach of the Lunar New Year, many places, including hospitals, have suspended nucleic acid testing services, so some Hong Kong citizens have failed to obtain negative nucleic acid test results making it difficult for them to return. It is understood that the Hong Kong government is considering revoking the requirement for nucleic acid test results for those returning to Hong Kong from Mainland.

Another source said that the authorities may scrap the nucleic acid test requirement for cross-border travel between Hong Kong and Mainland before the Lunar New Year.

After border reopening with Mainland, Chief Executive John Lee expressed yesterday that he hopes that all epidemic prevention restrictions, including the mask order, would be lifted within this year, and he vowed to solve all issues in the first quarter of this year, but reiterated that decisions must be pragmatic and risk-free. Lee mentioned that a full return to normal will always be his goal.

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