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Non-residents allowed to fly into HK from May 1

The government said on Friday that non-Hong Kong residents will be allowed to fly into the city from overseas once again from May 1, and it will also relax rules that lead to flight suspensions.

The administration said in a statement that the rules can be adjusted given the local Covid situation and the SAR's ability to deal with infections, as well as the public's expectation that socio-economic activities will resume.

To prevent the importation of Covid cases, non-residents will still have to follow other rules that apply to returning locals and will need to be vaccinated, have a negative test result before their flight, and undergo quarantine upon arrival.

The flight suspension mechanism will also be relaxed at the beginning of May.

Carriers will only be banned if they bring in five or more infected passengers - or five percent or more of the whole flight, whichever is higher - rather than just three passengers at present.

However, if any passenger is found to have failed to comply with boarding requirements, and there are three or more infections on the plane, the specific-route flight suspension will be triggered.

But the government has cut the suspension period from seven days to five.

The administration will also provide rapid antigen tests to inbound travellers, and those who test negative can be sent to their quarantine hotels without having to wait at the airport for PCR test results.

Prominent businessman Allan Zeman told RTHK it's high time the territory re-opened its border.

“This is really a game changer because now Hong Kong finally rejoins the international world, and that will allow businesses to bring out their executives who many have not been in for three years because of the virus,” he said.

“I think that slowly the confidence in Hong Kong can start getting built up again by the international community.”

Zeman said the authorities are striking a balance between opening up the city and protecting it from Covid, and he hopes there will be further relaxation of curbs if everything goes smoothly.

Cathay Pacific welcomed the relaxation, calling it a positive step towards the gradual resumption of travel activities.


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