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LCQ16: Arrangements for exemption from compulsory quarantine
     ​Following is a question by the Hon Rock Chen and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, in the Legislative Council today (June 1):
     There are views pointing out that, with the fifth wave of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 epidemic having stabilised, the Government should, under the principle of "guarding against the importation of cases", exempt persons from compulsory quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong if their travelling is for purposes relating to manufacturing operations, business activities or the provision of professional services in the interest of Hong Kong's economic development. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council, whether it has plans to exempt the following categories of persons from compulsory quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong: (i) senior executives of the banking industry, insurance industry and securities institutions who have completed three doses of vaccination, and (ii) Mainland and overseas professionals (including innovation and technology talents and healthcare personnel); if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     As the global pandemic persists, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government must continue to prevent the importation of cases under the policy direction of dynamic "zero infection", and maintain stringent inbound prevention and control measures.
     For overseas places and Taiwan, the Government has suitably adjusted the boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements applicable to inbound travellers, including adjusting the quarantine period for inbound travellers to align with that for close contacts of local cases (i.e. at least seven days) with effect from April 1, and allowing non-Hong Kong residents to enter Hong Kong with effect from May 1, in response to demands of the professional sectors (e.g. finance, innovation and technology, healthcare), as far as risks could be properly managed, to maintain contacts with their overseas counterparts and admit talents from overseas places.
     As for the Mainland and Macao, under the Return2hk Scheme or Come2hk Scheme, eligible persons can be exempted from quarantine upon entry into Hong Kong.
     In accordance with the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) and the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E), the Government can exempt certain persons who fulfilled relevant criteria from the compulsory quarantine requirement upon arrival in Hong Kong. Criteria for the entry of the persons include that it is necessary for the normal operation of Hong Kong or governmental operation, protection of the safety or health of the people of Hong Kong or serving the public interest of Hong Kong. If individual persons fulfil the above criteria, the relevant policy bureaux of the Government will consider the case on an individual basis under stringent scrutiny.
     The Government will continue to closely monitor the epidemic situation of different places, and will consider under the risk-based principle factors such as epidemic situation in particular places, testing rate, vaccination rate, volume of arrivals and actual imported cases, as well as taking into account the developments of the local epidemic situation and relevant socio-economic factors, to adjust the boarding, quarantine and testing requirements for overseas arrivals (including exempted persons) as the situation warrants.
Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Issued at HKT 14:30
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