Arrivals from Africa to spend a week in Penny’s Bay

Fully vaccinated Hongkongers who arrive in the SAR having spent time in any of eight African countries will have to serve their first week of quarantine at the government’s Penny’s Bay quarantine centre, officials announced on Saturday.

The move is the latest measure by the SAR to keep the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 out. On Friday, officials banned all non-residents who’ve been in any of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the previous 21 days from entering.

Unvaccinated Hong Kong residents are also barred. The same rules already applied to South Africa.

During their week at Penny’s Bay, arrivals from the eight countries will be subject to daily Covid testing and their health will be monitored by medical professionals, the Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.

After the week at Penny’s Bay, the travellers will still have to spend two weeks at a designated quarantine hotel.

“Although there are not any direct passenger flights arriving Hong Kong from the eight places in southern Africa concerned currently, we noticed the presence of the Omicron variant in a number of places globally,” a spokesperson for the Centre for Health Protection said.

“We must stay vigilant and implement the most stringent anti-epidemic measures to prevent the mutant strain from entering the local community. We will review the effectiveness of those anti-epidemic measures from time to time.”

The government said on Saturday that it was in contact with officials in countries that have reported Omicron cases, including Belgium and Israel.

Hong Kong reported two case of Omicron earlier in November, involving a man who flew in from South Africa and another person in quarantine staying in the room opposite at the Regal Airport Hotel.

Officials say they’ve also stepped up surveillance on designated quarantine hotels to ensure that they comply with infection control requirements at all times.

The government reminded people undergoing quarantine that they must keep the windows in the hotel room closed and wear surgical masks whenever they open the room door.
Last updated: 2021-11-27 HKT 22:05