Politics

Hong Kong relaxes COVID rules for inbound tour groups

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LOK YIU CHEUNG-UNSPLASH

HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s government said on Monday it was relaxing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions on inbound tour groups including allowing them to enter theme parks and museums after arriving in the financial hub. 

Hong Kong has relaxed many of its stringent coronavirus policies in recent months, including hotel quarantine for international arrivals as of Sept. 26. 

International arrivals are still, however, subject to multiple coronavirus tests and barred from entering bars, restaurants and venues like sports clubs for the first three days. 

The government said specific arrangements for visiting tourists would be launched this month, without specifying a start date. 

“The relevant arrangements can support the gradual resumption of the inbound travel market in an orderly manner and provide more favorable business environment for the travel trade,” the government said. 

The announcement came after Hong Kong last week hosted a high-profile financial summit for which more than 200 financial executives who flew into the former British colony were exempted from Hong Kong’s rules for international arrivals. 

Many local residents have pointed to inconsistencies in government policy and said authorities should remove the restrictions for everyone equally. 

Hong Kong’s economy has been battered by the coronavirus restrictions which have lasted for nearly three years with many small and medium-sized businesses closing down. — Reuters