Specified conditions imposed on inbound travellers who have visited specified high risk places (Cap.599H)
Under Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap.599H), an inbound traveller who, on the day on which the traveller boarded a civil aviation aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong (specified aircraft), or during the 14 days before that day, has stayed in any specified place (i.e. Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America [Remark]), must provide the following documents:
Remark: Taking into account the latest public health risk assessment, and the changes and developments of the epidemic situation, the Secretary for Food and Health will publish in the Gazette new specifications to maintain the conditions imposed and to include France and Russia as specified places with effect from October 26 until further notice.
The operator of the specified aircraft should submit to the Department of Health (DH) before the specified aircraft arrives at Hong Kong a document in a form specified by the DH confirming that each relevant traveller has, before being checked-in for the flight to Hong Kong on that aircraft, produced for boarding on the aircraft the documentary proof to show that the above conditions are met (template). The above-mentioned inbound travellers who fail to produce the relevant specified documents will be refused to board the flight.
A person who is in transit in Hong Kong, and a person exempted by the Chief Secretary for Administration from compulsory quarantine under section 4(1) of either the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) or Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) will not be affected.
If any conditions specified by the Secretary for Food and Health is not met in relation to any relevant traveller on the conveyance, each of the operators of the conveyance commits an offence, and is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a fine at level 5 ($50,000) and imprisonment for six months. If an operator fails to comply with a requirement to provide information, or knowingly or recklessly provides any information that is false or misleading in a material particular, he or she is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a fine at level 5 ($50,000) and imprisonment for six months.
As for travellers, if a traveller coming to Hong Kong fails to comply with a requirement to provide information, or knowingly or recklessly provides any information that is false or misleading in a material particular, he or she is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a fine at level 3 ($10,000) and imprisonment for six months.
Travellers to Hong Kong should note that even they have conducted a COVID-19 nucleic acid test before returning to Hong Kong, for prudence sake, they will still be mandated to have their deep throat saliva samples collected for conducting testing for COVID-19 at the DH's Temporary Specimen Collection Centre and wait for their test results at a designated location pursuant to the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599).
If their test results are negative, they will be allowed to go to the hotel for which they made the reservation to continue the 14-day compulsory quarantine until completion. If their results are positive, the travellers will be transferred to hospital for isolation and treatment. Close contacts of confirmed cases will be sent to quarantine centre. Travellers have to bear their own cost for cancellation of hotel reservation or other relevant charges as a consequence of the positive test result.
The DH will issue quarantine orders to these returnees. The relevant government department will also arrange electronic wristbands for them. According to quarantine orders, they shall neither leave their hotel rooms nor move around in the hotel during the entire quarantine period. Leaving designated rooms will be regarded as a breach of the quarantine order and constitutes a criminal offence. Offenders are subject to a maximum imprisonment for six months and fine of $25,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
The nucleic acid test for COVID-19 should be done within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft. How would the 72 hours be counted if a traveller will transit somewhere before arrival in Hong Kong?
One of the requirements of Cap. 599H is that “the relevant traveller underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 the sample for which was taken from the relevant traveller within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft”. “Specified aircraft” means a civil aviation aircraft that arrives at, or is about to arrive at Hong Kong (i.e. the aircraft which is directly landing Hong Kong). Therefore, if a traveller transits somewhere and then fly to Hong Kong, the 72 hours will be counted from the scheduled time of the departure flight flying to Hong Kong.
In addition, if the nucleic acid test is done in other origins, time zone difference shall be taken into account concerning the calculation of 72 hours and the time zone of the specified aircraft's departure port should be taken as the reference time zone. Below is an example of a traveller flying to Hong Kong from Washington DC (EDT GMT -4) with transit at Seoul, South Korea (GMT+9).
Time/Date of sample taken for COVID-19 test: 4:00pm, 16 Sept (US local time).
The traveller takes a connecting flight from US to S. Korea and the scheduled time of departure of the second flight from S. Korea to Hong Kong is 7:45pm on 19 Sept.
The 72-hour validity period shall be from 7:45pm, 16 Sept to 7:45pm, 19 Sept (S. Korea local time).
In the above example, the specified aircraft's departure port is at S. Korea, thus the relevant time should be converted to S. Korea’s local time for calculation. The test is done in Washington DC: 4:00pm, 16 Sept (US local time) is equivalent to 5:00am, 17 Sept (S. Korea local time). Since the sample was taken at 5:00am, 17 Sept (S. Korea local time) which falls into the 72-hour period, the test result shall be considered valid.
Will I be affected by this Regulation (Cap599H) if I just transit at the specified high risk place with layover inside the airport terminal without passing through the immigration control point (i.e. has not entered the specified high risk place)? My flight origin does not belong to any specified high risk place.
According to the Regulation, only travellers satisfying all the following conditions during transit, will be regarded as NOT having stayed in the specified high risk place:
- a person boarded, in a place, a conveyance that, after the person had boarded it, stopped in any other place that is a specified place (stopover specified place); and
- the person did not leave the conveyance in that stopover specified place; and
- the person’s journey on that conveyance ended subsequently outside that stopover specified place.
Therefore, once the traveller leaves the aircraft of which the stopover is a specified high risk place, the traveller will be regarded as having stayed in that place, thus the traveller has to comply with the requirements specified in the textbox above.
What tests are accepted as a nucleic acid test for COVID-19?
Laboratories and healthcare institutions may use different terms which are equivalent to nucleic acid test.
The following are common acceptable terms for "nucleic acid test": "Polymerase chain reaction" ("PCR"), "reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction" ("RT-PCR"), "real time RT-PCR", "real-time PCR", "nucleic test", “nucleic acid amplification test" ("NAAT"), "TrueNAT", "CBNAAT", "Loop-mediated isothermal amplification" ("LAMP"), "Molecular diagnostics/test". Apart from "COVID-19", "SARS-CoV-2" is also an acceptable term for the virus.
Antigen test (e.g. SARS Antigen FIA test) and Antibody test (e.g. IgG Antibody test) are NOT accepted.
Is there a list of recognised or approved laboratories or healthcare institutions of the countries concerned?
Please contact your local health authority to obtain the list of recognised or approved laboratories or healthcare institutions of the particular country.
The relevant traveller has to make a room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant traveller in Hong Kong. Are other accommodations such as hostel acceptable?
No, hostels, guesthouses, Airbnb and service apartments are not acceptable.
Is it mandatory to make reservation at a hotel specified in the list on the website?
The hotel list (https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/inbound/hotels_en.pdf) is for reference only. Accommodation at any hotel in Hong Kong will be acceptable.
Can I share a hotel room with my family members or friends?
Yes. If you and your family members or friends are taking the same flight to Hong Kong, you can share a hotel room with them.
If I am arriving at Hong Kong in the night time, can I omit the hotel reservation for the first day?
No. The relevant traveller is required to provide documentary proof of a hotel room reservation in Hong Kong covering the day of arrival, regardless his/her time of arrival, and the reservation should cover a continuous period for not less than 14 days.
If an inbound traveller arriving from specified high risk places (Cap. 599H) is under 16 years old, can his/her family member or caretaker share a hotel room together?
In general, hotels in Hong Kong only allow minors under 16 years old (18 years old for some hotels) to stay if they are accompanied by an adult. Since these minors come from high-risk places, the accompanied adult may be exposed to higher risk of infection. As a preventive measure, it is recommended that the accompanied adult should stay together with the minor in hotel room until the end of quarantine period without leaving for the purpose of quarantine in order to minimize the possible risk of community transmission.
Do the family member or caretaker need to liaise with DH in advance on the practical arrangements for the minors to stay in the hotels?
The relevant persons should directly contact and discuss with the hotels concerned in advance on the detailed accommodation arrangements.
For those minors who are undergoing quarantine in hotel room, are their family members or caretakers be allowed to change or enter the room during the quarantine period?
Since these minors come from high-risk places, in order to minimize the possible risk of infection or community transmission, it is recommended to arrange only one family member or caretaker to enter and stay with the minor in hotel room together until the end of quarantine period. During this period, no other family member or caretaker should enter the concerned hotel room. Family member or caretaker should not be changed during the period of quarantine.
Can an inbound traveller who have visited specified high-risk places (Cap. 599H) conduct quarantine at home?
Under Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H), a relevant inbound traveller must provide a confirmation in Chinese or English of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant traveller in Hong Kong before boarding a flight to Hong Kong. The inbound travellers concerned who fail to produce the relevant specified documents will be refused to board the flight.
For the documentary proof to show that the laboratory or healthcare institution is ISO 15189 accredited or is recognised or approved by the relevant authority of the government, can it be replaced by other documents such as certificate of accreditation?
For the documentary proof of ISO 15189 accreditation or recognition or approval by relevant authority of local government of the laboratory or healthcare institution, it can be in the form a copy of "Certificate of Accreditation", "Certificate of Compliance", or information printed out from government official website.
Can I send in the required documents for vetting before travelling back to Hong Kong?
No pre-arrival vetting of documents would be done for individuals who intend to enter Hong Kong. Relevant documents shall be provided to the operator of the aircraft for checking before boarding. The operator of the specified aircraft should notify the Department of Health before the specified aircraft arrives at Hong Kong confirming that each relevant traveller has, before being checked-in for the flight to Hong Kong on that aircraft, produced for boarding on the aircraft the documentary proof to show that the above conditions are met.
Are the required documents only accepted in the format of standard templates?
While acceptable documentary proof shall meet all the specified requirements, the format may vary.
Is it mandatory to have the name and identity card or passport number printed on the laboratory test report?
The test report in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution must bear the name of the relevant traveller identical to that in his/her valid travel document. Identity card or passport number is not mandatory on the test report.
If the name of the relevant traveller printed on the test report was not exactly the same as presented in his/her passport (e.g. middle name missing on test report but present on passport), would the report be accepted?
If the name on the laboratory report is not identical to that on the Hong Kong Identity Card or travel document; OR if any one of following requirements has not been met, “the test report in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the relevant traveller identical to that in his/her valid travel document to show that:
- the relevant traveller underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the sample for which was taken from the relevant traveller within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
- the test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; and
- the result of the test is the relevant traveller was tested negative for COVID-19”
Do I need to present the original paper copy upon arrival at Hong Kong? Can I just present the documents on a mobile device?
Documents in paper or electronic format are equally acceptable but you are highly recommended to print out the documents as backup in case of running any technical problems when opening the files on the mobile device.
Am I allowed to be quarantined at home instead of hotel if I have medical needs?
One of the requirements of the Regulation is that “the relevant traveller has confirmation in English or Chinese of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of the arrival of the relevant traveller in Hong Kong”. The relevant travellers who fail to produce the relevant specified documents will be refused to board the flight.
Persons put under compulsory quarantine are required to comply with the compulsory quarantine requirements. Unless with the permission of an authorized officer, you shall confine yourself to the place of quarantine and are prohibited from leaving Hong Kong. You should seek permission from the Department of Health in advance (by contacting the hotline printed on the quarantine order) should you need to leave the quarantine premises under exceptional conditions (e.g. having medical illness) during your quarantine period. The relevant officer will perform a case-by-case assessment taking into account of the provided situation and evidences, including an appropriate reason for leaving the place of quarantine, any symptoms of the confinee, any relevant written proofs, and so on. Permission could only be provided to confines after they have entered Hong Kong and prior application will generally not be considered.
If my flight has been delayed or advanced unexpectedly, how to calculate the 72-hours pre-departure test result and the 14-day hotel reservation?
The specified requirements of “72 hours” and “14 days” refer to the “scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft” and “scheduled date of arrival at Hong Kong” respectively.