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Hong Kong lifts some travel restrictions and ends contact tracing | CNN Business

Hong Kong
CNN Business

Hong Kong has announced it will remove some remaining restrictions on travelers and end contact tracing, after Beijing backed away from its hardline zero-Covid stance.

Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau told a news conference Tuesday that travelers arriving in the city will no longer be issued an “amber code” barring them from entering restaurants and bars for the first three days. .

He also confirmed the end of the requirement to scan a government health app to enter public places, but said a vaccine pass would still be needed to enter places, including restaurants.

“We have to consider measures that will help revive our economic and social activities,” Lo said, adding that the changes would take effect from Wednesday.

Travel from Hong Kong to Macao and mainland China will also be facilitated to “keep in line with mainland China’s policy,” Lo said.

International travelers are still required to undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Hong Kong and on the second day of their visit, in addition to five days of rapid antigen tests. Those who test positive must self-isolate.

Masks also remain mandatory in all public places, even outdoors.

Speaking early Tuesday, Hong Kong leader John Lee said one of the reasons for easing the restrictions was that the risk of infection to the local community posed by imported cases was now lower.

The gradual easing of restrictions comes after Hong Kong lifted a mandatory quarantine for foreign travelers in September, following more than two and a half years of lockdown that threatened its status as an international business hub and plunged the economy into a slump. recession.

China made a major pivot from its hardline zero-Covid stance following nationwide protests in November.

On Monday, the Chinese authorities announced the disabling of the health tracking function of the “mobile itinerary card.” The system, which is separate from the health code scanning system required in several places in China, had used cell phone data to track people’s travel histories to identify those who had visited cities with designated health zones. “high risk” by the authorities. .

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