With the number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong growing, the city has extended the length of the mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers to 21 days.

Taking into effect on December 25, city authorities have also banned passengers who have stayed in South Africa within the past 21 days from arriving in the city.

Travelers coming in from mainland China, Taiwan, and Macau are exempt from the new quarantine policy though will be subject to the current 14-day quarantine. The added restrictions come after a ban on all flights arriving from the United Kingdom which started on December 22 due to a new highly-transmissible strain of COVID-19.

“Noting the drastic change of the global pandemic situation with the new virus variant found in more countries, there is a need for the government to introduce resolute measures immediately... to ensure that no case would slip through the net even under very exceptional cases where the incubation period of the virus is longer than 14 days,” a government spokesman said.

The same government spokesman also addressed the ban on arrivals from South Africa stating: “Taking into account the discovery of the new virus variant with high transmissibility in South Africa, it is necessary for the Government to adopt stringent measures to restrict the boarding of persons who have stayed in South Africa for Hong Kong.”

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