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Hong Kong Changing Tack? Slight Relaxation of Visitor Entry Requirements as Background Local Cases are Higher than Incoming Visitor Cases.
3 doses of covid-19 vaccine mandatory to enter restaurants and certain venues. Daily antigen testing for students and many employees. Indoor and outdoor masking remain! Still a very long way to go!!
Yesterday Hong Kong’s Free Press wrote that Hong Kong would not “hastily” follow China’s example of rapidly relaxing Covid-19 Measures.
China’s relaxation measures have come as China changes tack away from ‘zero covid’ to ‘live with’ the virus, but with ramped up mass vaccination, particularly of senior citizens. China’s Sinopharm vaccine, made in China, is a traditional adjuvanted, killed whole-virus technology. Discussed by Dr. Campbell here. Relaxation measures include lifting lockdowns, ending mass testing and forced stays in isolation facilities, and reopening public venues across key provinces
China’s changes are likely triggered by growing discontent over the nearly 3 years long lockdowns and draconian measures, and the protests that started after the deaths of people locked into their homes and unable to be rescued during a fire in Urumichi late in November.
The Chinese Government is surely wise to know just how far it’s people can be pushed, and when it needs to back up to stay in power. It will be interesting to watch just how China manages to unravel itself from its mass restrictions, and what the fallout will be as they go forwards.
Back to Hong Kong. After yesterday’s promise not to move quickly, a new article is published today. Arriving persons are identified to contribute lower rates of infections than already locally circulating infections, and thus restrictions are partially lifted, including removal of quarantine requirements, and reduced use of QR codes for arriving persons who test negative. PCR testing upon arrival and on day 3 after arrival, and a RAT test on day 5 is still required.
Life for anyone who is unvaccinated or has not taken more than two doses is restricted: proof of having received 3 doses of covid-19 vaccine is still required for entry to restaurants and other designated venues. Vaccines available in Hong Kong include CoronaVac from Sinovac Biotech and Fosun Pharma/ BioNTech’s Comirnaty. School children and many workplaces still require daily covid-19 antigen testing, and masks are still compulsory, indoors and out.
Small steps forward for Hong Kong in terms of reducing restrictions. Meanwhile, their cases, and deaths are both heading straight up, again!
Hong Kong has a long road ahead and is very far from returning to pre-pandemic life! I will be putting off a return to Hong Kong, and visiting my friends and colleagues there, until there are no remaining restrictions of any kind.