Quarantine Experience in Hong Kong for Inbound Travellers

The current travel restrictions in Hong Kong mean that only residents with a valid visa are allowed to enter. Even so, residents are subject to many conditions upon arrival. In this post, I detail the arrival experience in Hong Kong. I am fortunate to have received much valuable information from the ‘HK Quarantine Support Group’ on Facebook where its members have been helpful in sharing more information on what I can expect upon arrival. It’s now my turn to contribute to this shared wealth of information.

Click here to read about the Scoot flight experience from Singapore to Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that the information in this article was experienced on 6 September 2020. The information in this article including travel restrictions may have changed whenever you are reading this. Always check the latest Government(s) and airline travel advisories for your own flight and nationality if you are flying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was sent towards the people mover train, to proceed to the Midfield Concourse where the testing procedures would take place. The first check is immediately getting off the train at Midfield Concourse, where you are asked to download the StayHomeSafe App, and to complete a health declaration form where you receive a QR code. You are asked to show these two things multiple times along the way.

The next step is to proceed to ensure you have a working phone number. The staff dial your number to ensure that you are able to receive a call. Following that, you proceed receive a tracking wristband for use during quarantine. There were not many people at this time, and these tasks were completed quickly.

The following step however, required a bit of a wait. This was the queue for where you sit down to be issued with a quarantine order by a staff from the Department of Health. He asks where you will be quarantining – when I said an Airbnb, he initially said, “cannot”, but I assured him that I was from a low-risk country (this determines where you can do your quarantine), and that there was no else living in the flat where I would do my quarantine. He stamped my quarantine order with my release date, and thankfully, the day of arrival counts as Day 1. Only 13 more days to go!

We were given lanyards and a testing kit, and proceeded to watch a short video on how to perform the spit test (note that airport tests are all deep throat spit tests, and not nasal swabs). You are then given allocated a booth in which to do the test in, in my case, at the very end of the Midfield Concourse building. This meant lots of walking and it pays to have as little carry-on luggage with you.

Having done the spit test, and filling about a third of the bottle, I gave in my sample, and went to yet another counter to be allocated a hotel room for the night. While morning arrivals wait for their test results at the airport, meaning an up-to 12 hour wait for results. As such, I chose to arrive in the evening, to ensure that I would be allowed to wait at the government facility for the results.

Once everything required had been done, I joined another queue to wait for an apron bus for the journey back to Terminal 1 to the immigration counters and baggage collection.

Lots of parked planes around HKIA just like every other international airport in the world.

The brand new apron bus shuttling me to immigration and baggage collection.

My bag was still making its rounds around the carousel, despite it being about 2.5 hours since it arrived at the belt.

The catch is as such: there is a terribly long wait for the bus to the government facility, the Dorsett Tsuen Wan. I was fortunate to wait a little less than an hour, but others have waited far longer. I happily boarded the bus, at the new extension of Terminal 1, and was on my way.

After about 30 minutes, we arrived at the Dorsett Tsuen Wan, and a short queue ensued to pick up room keys (a little different from a regular hotel key card: they can only be used once!), and a boxed dinner (two choices: take it or leave it).

I was happy to get a clean room on the 15th floor with two single beds, and was pretty famished by then.

The boxed dinner of chicken and rice tasted especially good as a result. The WiFi was working, and the TV was advertising expensive bottles of water, coke, and instant noodles. While some other travellers reported that they only found face towels in their rooms, I was given two large bath towels for mine.

The next morning, breakfast is left hanging on a hook by the door at about 9am: a quick knock informs you of this arrival. I cleared my stuff and had breakfast, and waited for the phone call informing me of negative results that would allow me to proceed to my quarantine accommodation.

This came at 11am, and I proceeded to join the wait for the lift. I handed in my key card, and booked a taxi on HKTaxi app, which allows you to pay by credit card.

I was fortunate to have found an honest and quick driver and paid a most reasonable rate for my journey to my Airbnb.

This marked the beginning of my 14-day quarantine stay.

Please note that the information in this article was experienced on 6 September 2020. The information in this article including travel restrictions may have changed whenever you are reading this. Always check the latest Government(s) and airline travel advisories for your own flight and nationality if you are flying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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