Virus test mandated for US passengers heading to HK - RTHK
A A A
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

Virus test mandated for US passengers heading to HK

2020-07-22 HKT 17:15
Share this story facebook
  • From next week, US passengers flying to Hong Kong will have to provide a negative Covid test certificate before they are allowed to board the plane. File photo: AFP
    From next week, US passengers flying to Hong Kong will have to provide a negative Covid test certificate before they are allowed to board the plane. File photo: AFP
Passengers heading to Hong Kong from the United States and Kazakhstan from next week will have to present proof of a negative coronavirus test before they can board the plane, the government has announced.

The tightening of this travel restriction – which will come into effect from July 29 – was announced by Health Secretary Sophia Chan amid criticism that loopholes in the quarantine policy has led to a third wave of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Under the new regulation, people arriving from the US and Kazakhstan will first need proof of a negative nucleic acid test for Covid-19, as well as proof that they've reserved a hotel room for at least 14 days upon their arrival in the city.

Currently, only passengers arriving from places identified as high risk, like Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa, need to undergo this.

The negative certificate has to be obtained within 72 hours before departure.

Chan announced the addition of the two countries to the list while unveiling tougher measures to contain coronavirus outbreaks in the city, which continues to rage.

Hong Kong’s move comes a day after mainland authorities said air passengers from across the world will have to provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding China-bound flights, in a bid to reduce the risk of imported cases.

This is bound to hit air travel further as countries struggle with testing capacity and speed. In parts of the United States, receipt of test results can take up to two weeks.

In some other countries, nucleic acid tests are reserved for people who have come in close contact with Covid-19 patients or who have symptoms of the potentially fatal disease.

The US has been struggling to contain outbreaks of Covid cases across the country while the Chinese embassy had warned of a deadlier form of pneumonia being reported in Kazakhstan.