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Hong Kong lifts COVID restrictions on arrivals, removes health app | Business and Economics


The announcement comes as mainland China continues to relax its strict ‘no COVID’ strategy.

Hong Kong’s removal of the COVID-19 app and a ban on visitors to bars and restaurants within three days of arrival after nearly three years of curbs have decimated business and tourism activity.

Tuesday’s announcement came after authorities in mainland China shut down a domestic travel tracking app in Beijing’s latest move to steer clear of China’s harsh “no COVID” strategy. surname.

Hong Kong residents have been required to use “LeaveHomeSafe” to prove their vaccination status and record their entry at restaurants and venues such as gyms, clubs and beauty salons.

Those arriving in the city are also restricted from moving under the “0 + 3” agreement, which bans them from entering certain locations including restaurants and bars for the first 72 hours.

Hong Kong leader John Lee said the government had decided to lift restrictions from Wednesday after reviewing the latest data and risks.

“The risk of infection from imported cases is lower than the risk of local transmission,” Lee said.

Hong Kong’s strict pandemic restrictions, which have lasted much longer than elsewhere, have taken a toll on an economy that relies heavily on tourism and trade.

Hong Kong is one of the only economies in the region that will end the year in recession, along with China’s neighbors Macau and Sri Lanka in crisis.

The city government last month lowered its economic forecast for 2022 to a 3.2% decline.

Although Hong Kong ended two and a half years of mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals in SeptemberVisitors have not yet returned to the city in large numbers.

Daily arrivals in December hovered around 20,000, most of them Hong Kong residents, compared with about 350,000 in 2019.

Despite the latest easing of restrictions, Hong Kong maintains the strictest pandemic rules outside of China, including mandatory wearing of masks when going out, repeated COVID testing of those come and ban gatherings of more than 12 people.

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