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Starting Friday, Hong Kong is reducing the time travelers need to stay in hotel quarantine from seven days to three days.

“The seven-day hotel quarantine arrangement will be changed to three days in a quarantine hotel, plus four days of home medical monitoring,” Chief Executive John Lee told a news conference on Monday.

After completing the hotel quarantine, travelers can be monitored at home or in hotels for four days. During this period, people will be able to leave their place of residence but not enter “where vaccine passes are actively checked,” Li said in Cantonese.

This includes bars, pubs, gyms and beauty salons. People are also not allowed to visit nursing homes, schools and designated medical facilities during the surveillance period.

“They can’t participate in any event that requires removing their masks,” Li added. If they test negative for a rapid antigen test, they can take public transport, go to work and enter shopping malls, he said.

“We have to strike a balance between the level of risk and economic activity. Where risks can be controlled, we want to maximize the flow of people and keep Hong Kong competitive,” Li said.

Hong Kong has imposed strict border controls to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. But as much of the rest of the world opens up, restrictive measures have weighed on residents, with thousands leaving Chinese cities.

According to the trend of imported cases, 80% of infections occurred within three days, said Health Bureau Director Lu Zhongmao.

“Another four nights in a quarantine hotel – which means seven nights in a quarantine hotel – is not cost-effective and will also affect Hong Kong’s connection to the world,” he told the same news conference.

Shares in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific rose 2.36% after the announcement.

CNBC Health & Science

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