Chief Executive John Lee has announced that from Friday, people arriving in Hong Kong will have to spend three days in hotel quarantine, instead of the current seven.
After three nights at a quarantine hotel, arrivals can go home or elsewhere, but will undergo medical surveillance for four more days and will be given an "amber code" on their LeaveHomeSafe app to restrict their movements.
While such people can go out and about during these four days and to work or school, they won't be able to visit places that check vaccine passes, such as bars, gyms and restaurants.
They cannot visit care homes, and designated healthcare premises will be off-limits apart from for staff and those receiving treatment.
Arrivals will have to take repeated PCR tests and their health code will change to red if they have Covid-19, meaning they must self-isolate.
If they remain negative for Covid during the entire four-day period, the colour of their health code will be changed to blue and they will be free to visit all venues again with the vaccine pass.
At a press conference on Monday, Lee said the amber code will only apply to arrivals from overseas, adding that the government has no plan to introduce it for close contacts of Covid patients.
Travellers will have to download the latest version of the LeaveHomeSafe app, but other people can continue to use the old version.
Lee said the shortening of the hotel quarantine period doesn't mean Hong Kong is giving up on controlling the epidemic.
He said the government is striking a balance between controlling infection risks, and allowing more economic activities and maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness.
"The main purpose is while we can control the threat to public health, we want also to ensure that society can have the maximum degree of economic and social activities so that society can go about as normal as possible and the competitiveness of Hong Kong can be maintained," he said.