The privilege of shorter quarantine

June 29, 2022 11:21
Photo: Reuters

The nightmare of staying in a hotel for three full weeks might hopefully be over.

Yesterday the National Health Commission announced to shorten the hotel quarantine period for people arriving in the mainland to about half. Now the hotel stay would be cut to seven days from 14 followed by three days of homestay from seven.

Well, it is still halfway through from the back-to-normal mode as seen in most other countries but it is already good news to those who dreamed to visit China since the border was closed in March 2020.

I remembered a friend who recently challenged a group of diners with his own Guinness World Records of 99 days of quarantine including three 21-day periods each in the last three years.

And he might not be the only one. I know a few mainland students who studied in Hong Kong and at least one local student studying at Tsinghua University had to undergo such ordeals, although they would look back and say they could play video games and Netflix without distractions.

Now Hong Kong is expected to follow suit this summer.

The new administration under John Lee Ka-chiu is considering cutting the seven-day isolation period for inbound travelers to 5+2 - five days of hotel quarantine and two days at home.

Think of how many people missed their Japanese vacations, especially when the yen was that low.

The mere thought of travel relaxation fueled the Hong Kong stock market yesterday when the market was jubilant on the travel restriction news.

Airline, hotel and restaurant stocks led the market rally as investors built in further relaxation news.

Like many people, I would rather give up the joy of travel for the fear of hotel quarantine. And of course, people could share countless stories on the triple rise in economy tickets and how difficult it is to book a designated quarantine hotel in return.

In this light, we hope John Lee would announce the lift in travel restriction as soon as he steps up as Chief Executive. After all, no one wants to see Hong Kong lose its capital and people flow to other international cities especially Singapore.

On this note, my soft heart goes to the heavyweights in Hong Kong who enjoyed a rare two-night “staycation” in Grand Hyatt and other Wanchai hotels to prepare for meeting President Xi on his visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.

I know they would bluff about the honour of being quarantined.

-- Contact us at [email protected]

EJ Insight writer