Shorter quarantine 'welcome, but not enough' - RTHK
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Shorter quarantine 'welcome, but not enough'

2022-01-28 HKT 09:16
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  • Shorter quarantine 'welcome, but not enough'
A representative of Hong Kong's international business community on Friday welcomed the government's decision to reduce hotel quarantine for people arriving from overseas, but said the changes would not be enough to encourage inbound business travellers.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Thursday that travellers would have to spend only 14 days in a hotel instead of 21, citing the shorter incubation period for the dominant Omicron strain of Covid-19. The change takes effect on February 5.

Speaking on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, George Cautherley, the vice-chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, said it was time for the government to come up with a roadmap to quarantine-free arrivals.

"It will help the local business community if they want to do outbound business travel because it's not quite so onerous coming back," he told RTHK's Janice Wong. "But I don't think it will help the international community consider inbound business travel to Hong Kong.

"I think we would have to eliminate it. Most places in the world have eliminated quarantine, so we aren't competitive in that respect."

Asked on Thursday whether the shorter quarantine requirement was a response to concerns from the international business community, the chief executive said this was not the case, saying it was purely down to science.

She said it would make no sense to keep 21-day quarantine for travellers when close contacts of cases only had to isolate for 14 days.

Lam also announced a two-week extension to a ban on flights from eight countries that have been hit hard by the Omicron variant, as well as a range of other social distancing measures including a ban on dine-in services at restaurants after 6pm.