The Hong Kong government is responding to the growing pandemic of COVID-19 by introducing its most stringent travel restrictions to date. The city has issued blanket red travel alerts for all countries except Mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan.
In addition, as of March 19, all arrivals into Hong Kong are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Hong Kong residents will be able to self-quarantine in their own homes; non-residents will have to go to quarantine centers. The guidelines state that no one will be able to ride out the quarantine with a normal hotel reservation.
At the airport, asymptomatic travelers are being processed manually and sent home. However, any travelers that display respiratory symptoms are immediately sent to quarantine centers. To help with the surge in quarantine numbers, at least 14 hotels have banded together to offer 1,000 extra rooms where the government can isolate symptomatic arrivals. Those quarantined in these hotels will be required to pay HK$200-HK$300 per day.
Asymptomatic arrivals are being fitted with electronic tracking bracelets as they pass through immigration controls at the airport. They then have approximately two hours to get home, at which point they have to activate an app on their phone to sync with their bracelet. They will also get randomly-timed messages and calls to check their whereabouts during the quarantine period. However, there have been lots of reports since the system came into force that the apps have been problematic and that up to 1/3 of the bracelets aren’t functioning properly.
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