Hong Kong to speed up arrivals with electronic health declaration rule

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong will require travelers to the city to complete an electronic health declaration form before boarding a flight, no longer allowing them to do paperwork after landing, in a bid to make the process more efficient.

The new system will start on July 28 on a trial basis, the government said in a statement.

In addition to the standard health and arrival details, passengers must provide proof of vaccination and a quarantine hotel stay reference number in order to obtain the QR code needed to board a flight to the Asian financial hub, the government said.

While most passengers already fill out forms in advance, the few who don’t can slow down the arrival process and lengthen the time travelers have to spend at Hong Kong International Airport, the statement said. .

Passengers must still present documents and those who do not have a QR code will be allowed to board during the trial period.

Hong Kong’s extensive and specific rules around vaccinations, testing and quarantined hotel bookings have caused confusion and controversy among travelers, as mistakes can derail plans and sorting them out can lead to delays in travel. airports.

The city plans to fully implement the electronic declaration form in August, digitalizing the pre-boarding document verification system and reducing the manpower it currently requires.

“Completing the health declaration before boarding allows for smoother arrival quarantine procedures for those entering,” a government spokesperson said in the statement. “It will also facilitate the gradual introduction of electronic processing of quarantine procedures on arrival, thereby reducing the need for manual processing and therefore waiting time and bottlenecks.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has introduced several new policies aimed at simplifying Covid-19 rules since taking office in early July.

Earlier this month, his administration suspended a system that barred airlines from flying on routes that brought large numbers of passengers infected with Covid-19. It also ended mandatory isolation in government-run facilities for patients with the most transmissible subvariants of the virus.

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