Hong Kong adds Canada to ‘very high-risk’ list, orders travelers to provide negative test before departure

AdChoiceTV News — Hong Kong is adding Canada to a list of “very high-risk” places whose travellers must provide a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed to board flights to the territory.

The new rule comes into effect on December 25, amid an ongoing second wave of the pandemic in Canada, where there have been about 500,000 recorded cases in total and the current per capita rate of new infections is about 20 times higher than it is in Hong Kong.

Canada becomes the 20th country on Hong Kong’s “very high-risk” list, which also includes the US and Britain. Anyone who has been in Canada in the 14 days before departure will have to provide a negative nucleic acid test for Covid-19 conducted within 72 hours of their flight’s departure time.

In addition, travellers will also have to submit to a 14-day quarantine in Hong Kong, and provide proof of a reservation at a designated quarantine hotel or guest house.

However, this previously announced rule, coming into effect on December 22, applies to all travellers from places other than China, not just those from “very high-risk” places. Passengers transiting in Hong Kong are exempt.

Travellers who fail to comply with the rules or provide false information can be jailed for up to six months and fined HK$10,000 (US$1,300).

All passengers arriving in Hong Kong already must undergo a compulsory Covid-19 test before clearing the immigration and baggage area of the airport.

There were 208,000 Hong Kong-born people living in Canada at the time of the 2016 census, and there are an estimated 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong.

The other countries on the “very high-risk” list are Bangladesh, Belgium, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and Ukraine.

There were 7,008 new Covid-19 cases recorded in Canada on Thursday, and 117 deaths. Among the 488,638 total cases, 14,002 people have died.

Hong Kong is also battling a spike in cases, but infection rates are relatively low compared to Canada. On Friday, there were 70 new cases recorded in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 7,970.

Canada’s total infection rate per million people since the start of the pandemic is 13,000, compared to 1,070 in Hong Kong. The daily new case rate per million in Canada was 186 on Thursday, compared to 9 per million in Hong Kong on Friday.

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