Isolation, quarantine time reduced

December 8, 2022

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Government announced today that the period of both the isolation order for COVID-19 patients and quarantine order for close contacts will be shortened by two days from tomorrow, if negative results are obtained in all the daily rapid antigen tests (RAT).


If people infected with the virus obtain negative RAT results on the fourth and fifth days after testing positive, they may be discharged from isolation early after reporting the test result on Day 5.


As for close contacts of COVID-19 patients, they may be discharged from quarantine on Day 5 if they obtain negative daily RAT results.


Under Secretary for Health Dr Libby Lee told a press briefing that the arrangements are based on the principle of proper management of infection risk and the epidemic development.


She added that the five-day rule will also apply to inbound travellers, but they would still need to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test after arrival.


“We find that if the isolation order as well as the quarantine order are reduced to five days, basically the risk incurred is acceptable. So that is why we changed the quarantine order and the isolation order into five days.


“We still want to keep the PCR test for inbound travellers because of the variants and also in the previous press conferences, we have showed you the data about the Day 2 PCR where we can actually detect most of the COVID-19 cases travelled abroad.”


All inbound travellers arriving in Hong Kong on December 2 - ie December 9 being Day 7 after arrival - and any date thereafter are only required to undergo RATs daily until Day 5 after their arrival in Hong Kong. The existing "test-and-go" arrangements upon arrival at the airport and nucleic acid test on Day 2 remain unchanged.


The Government also announced today that the existing social distancing measures, which are set to expire on December 14, will be maintained until December 28.


It added that after balancing the public health risks and the need for social and economic activities, there is no room for relaxing the measures at this juncture and they will be maintained for the next 14-day cycle.

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