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Three major Asian destinations announced they have eased coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
According to The Straits Times, Hong Kong Undersecretary for Health Libby Lee revealed the city would require inbound travelers to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests for five days after their arrival, down from seven.
Government officials said they would keep a requirement for two PCR tests for new arrivals— once upon landing and again on their third day—while outdoor mask mandates and other social-distancing measures will remain in place.
While the changes are a positive step, the government knows they could be rolled back if needed.
“We are seeing an increasing trend in the daily tally, hospitalizations, death cases and severe cases, and there is no sign of easing,” Lee told The Straits Times. “The pressure on the healthcare system remains high and we must stay vigilant.”
China’s National Health Commission website announced a significant easing of COVID-19 controls, with people no longer needing to show negative virus tests or health codes to travel between different parts of the country.
Local authorities across China have also started removing virus testing requirements.
“When it comes to implementation, there are a lot of inconsistencies between different departments and different regions,” Hang Seng China chief economist Dan Wang said.
“We don’t know if the true restrictions, or the ‘return to normal’ can happen, actually, within the next six months, because we can see that for the smaller cities, for example. like Taiyuan and Xi’an, their changes within the Covid restrictions are still very much behind what’s going on in Beijing and Shanghai,” Wang continued.
In Macau, authorities revealed they would relax testing requirements for arrivals from mainland China. People entering from the adjoining Chinese city of Zhuhai are now required to display a 24-hour negative coronavirus result.
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