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Latest quarantine rules explained

The “3+4” quarantine arrangement for arrivals to Hong Kong is not a relaxation and inbound travellers must spend three days in hotel quarantine in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 from abroad, Secretary for Health Prof Lo Chung-mau said today.   He made the remarks to reporters after attending a radio programme and explained that there is a difference between local residents who test positive for the virus and inbound travellers.   “The fact is that local residents are already in the community and are already living in their home environment. There is a difference. Whereas for those inbound passengers, they have not yet got into the community, so we have the responsibility to stop them getting into the community. For local residents, when they tested positive, they are already at home, and that is the difference.   “We have to stop the viruses coming from abroad. There is also the possibility of more variants of the virus coming from abroad, and we have to make sure that we protect the local community.”    Addressing one particular question from the media about the possibility of “zero-quarantine” for arrivals to Hong Kong, Prof Lau stressed that the authorities’ top priority is to protect citizens’ health.   “We would consider every option, but especially as the Secretary for Health and for the Government as well in general, we have to realise that the control of COVID-19 is very important for the health and life of our people, our citizens. We cannot just look at economic activities.   “Our first priority is to protect the health and life of our people. We would consider every option if it is safe, but we have to have enough data to support whatever policy we are going to do, so we implement this ‘3+4’ (model), which I have to emphasise that it is not a relaxation. It is really not a relaxation of our strategy.   “We still hold the opinion that we have to reduce infection, reduce serious disease and reduce death during the COVID-19 pandemic.”   He also emphasised that the “3+4” quarantine measure is by no means a relaxation because arrivals are subject to stringent testing requirements.   “Remember, ‘3+4’ equals seven, so we are changing from a seven-day hotel quarantine into a ‘3+4’ strategy which is also seven days.   “We have not reduced the length, but we change the four additional days of hotel quarantine into four days of medical surveillance, including the amber code which restricts their high-risk activities, and also requires more PCR testing (polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid testing), so that we can identify them and prevent the virus from getting into our local community.”
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