Enhanced rules for airport arrivals

December 8, 2020

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Inbound air travellers will be transported to designated hotels to undergo a 14-day quarantine and need to take an additional COVID-19 test five days after completing the quarantine.


Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning, noting that the measures will be implemented before the Christmas holidays to enhance the prevention of imported cases.


Those who fly into the city will have their samples collected by medical professionals instead of leaving a deep throat saliva sample at Hong Kong International Airport. After testing they must take the designated transport to the designated hotels for the 14-day quarantine.


Mrs Lam noted the strategy to contain the spread of the virus should begin with preventing imported cases.


“I will only say that we will stay very vigilant. We will adjust our strategy. We will introduce and adopt more stringent measures in order to contain - I use the word 'contain' - the spread of the virus in society (which) gives rise to all sorts of economic and social difficulties.


“And the strategy, of course, has to start from preventing any imported cases, because if we could not prevent the importation of cases, then we will continue (to) be in a very difficult cycle of dealing with the outbreak.”


The Chief Executive added that as the incubation period of some COVID-19 patients exceeds 14 days, travellers will need to be tested again five days after they complete the quarantine.


“According to the scientists, the incubation period is not absolute. While we said that the 14-day (period) is the normal (incubation) period, so if we could isolate and quarantine every arrival for a period of 14 days that would be good enough. Yes, but still there will be cases that could have been missed because for certain individuals, the incubation period might be longer - beyond 14 days.


“We did have a few cases discovered in Hong Kong that (the patients) had symptoms or were confirmed after a 14-day quarantine period. And that is why the additional measure that I am announcing this morning is (that) we will require those arrivals to do another test on the 19th day to make sure that this (will be) better. But still, there is no absolute guarantee.”


Mrs Lam called on the community to help combat the new wave of the epidemic by following the relevant regulations and advice.


“Any absolute guarantee requires not only the Government, not only the scientists or my public health colleagues, but also the community at large. They have to abide by the regulations and the rules. They have to follow our advice. Now the advice is to stay home as far as possible.”

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