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Hong Kong lifts flight ban and reduces quarantine to “restart” economy

At a press conference on Monday, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam said the residents said: Of the nine countries, including India, the United Kingdom and the United States, you will be allowed to return from April 1st. Other countries are Australia, Canada, France, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Only Hong Kong vaccinated residents are eligible to return from these nine countries, but it is not immediately clear what the change means for non-residents arriving from countries other than mainland China. did.

Due to the worldwide spread of Omicron variants, flights from nine countries were banned earlier this year. Lam said the ban is no longer necessary as the coronavirus situation in Hong Kong is no longer better than in other countries.

Once the undisputed business center of Asia, cities in southern China are now exposed to a pesky wave of a fifth infection, increasing deaths, overloading health care systems, and exhausting brains. It has been a big blow to the economy. Maintaining strict social distance requirements, many companies were forced to temporarily shut down and remained primarily committed to their “zero-covid” policy.

Lam also said that vaccinated Hong Kong residents have returned home from next month. All countries are required to quarantine at the hotel for 14 to 7 days.

She added that if a traveler is negative for the virus on day 5 and negative on days 6 and 7, he can leave the hotel’s quarantine. However, you will need to complete an additional 7 days of self-diagnosis. monitoring.

Quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong are notorious in the international business community. Previously, most inbound travelers had to quarantine themselves in a hotel room for three weeks, making it one of the longest quarantines in the world.

Last week, Ram admitted The need to improve the city’s position in global business, saying it’s time for the government to consider border control.

“I feel very strongly that people are less forgiving. I am very good. [feeling] Because Hong Kong is an international financial center, some financial institutions have lost patience for such an isolated Hong Kong position. ”

“We have to prepare for the resumption of the economy,” she said on Monday.

However, this problem has already caused a serious escape.

Last month, more than 94,000 people left the country, but only about 23,000 entered the country, but according to immigration data, more than 50,000 people left the country in the first half of March, and about 7,000 people entered the country.

According to the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the outflow is affecting the business of the economy as a whole.

In a statement earlier this month, Chairman Peter Wong said the city “is facing an outflow of educated workers on a scale not seen since the early 1990s.”

On Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong welcomed the lifting of regulations and said it was “an important step towards a recovery from Hong Kong’s pandemic.”

“Amcham praises the government for listening to domestic and international business concerns by explaining the framework for returning to normal,” said Joseph Armas, chairman of the group.

“But we hope that by providing clear and consistent communication about that policy, the government can rebuild trust in the community that has led to the departure of expatriates and local talent.”

—LizzyYee contributed to this report.

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