While Hong Kong shows no signs of reopening its borders anytime soon, it will be easing some testing requirements for inbound and transit passengers.
From 1 June 2022:
- transit passengers will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test
- arriving passengers aged below three will be exempt from pre-departure testing (though they’ll still be tested on arrival via stool samples)
- arriving passengers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may present a negative pre-departure ART result, instead of PCR test
Travellers will also be exempt from the requirement to present documentary proof of the accreditation of the lab/medical institution that provided their PCR test results.
Hong Kong scraps COVID-19 tests for transit passengers
Currently, all transit passengers through Hong Kong are required to present a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departure, as well as proof that the lab or healthcare institution providing the results is ISO 15189 accredited or approved by the relevant authorities.
This is regardless of the testing requirements of their final destination, so a traveller flying from SIN-HKG-FRA would need to test, notwithstanding the fact that Singapore and Germany have no testing requirements.
From 1 June 2022, transit passengers through Hong Kong will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, per an update from the Hong Kong government.
As the epidemic situation around the world further stabilises, and prevention and control measures have been strengthened at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to ensure the segregation of travellers transferring or transiting in Hong Kong to lower the risk of transmission of cases into the community, the Government will lift the requirement for passengers transferring or transiting in Hong Kong to present proof of the 48-hour pre-departure nucleic acid test starting from 0.00am on June 1 (Hong Kong Time).
-Hong Kong Government
While the cost of PCR tests have fallen in Singapore (the cheapest ones now start from S$75), they may be significantly more expensive overseas, and you’ll need two tests if you intend to transit through Hong Kong on both the inbound and outbound leg.
Transit passengers are still required to book their travel through Hong Kong on a single itinerary, so you can’t redeem one award ticket on SQ from SIN-HKG and then another from HKG-SFO on CX, for example.
The removal of the testing requirement for transit passengers will come as a huge relief to Cathay Pacific, which quite frankly needs all the help it can get right now. Singapore-based travellers can now travel to places like Toronto or London via Hong Kong completely test free, although the key issue is that Cathay Pacific only plans to operate 3X services to Singapore in June (that’s 3X for the whole month, not weekly!) drastically limiting transit opportunities.
In July this improves to 3X weekly, and hopefully this will be further ramped up following this latest development.
Eased testing for travellers to Hong Kong
Testing requirements have also been eased for travellers for whom Hong Kong is the final destination.
From 1 June 2022, children aged below three will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test. However, they will be subject to PCR testing on arrival, conducted via stool samples.
Furthermore, travellers who were recently infected with COVID-19 within a 14-90 day timeframe prior to departure will be excused from pre-departure PCR testing. They can instead present the results of a negative ART, conducted 24 hours prior to boarding.
They will need to present:
- A certificate issued by a medical practitioner or a recovery record issued by relevant authorities in Chinese or English, showing that the person was infected with COVID-19 14 to 90 days prior to boarding for Hong Kong and has recovered (the personal information contained on the documentary must match that of the relevant inbound person);
- A test report in Chinese or English issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name of the relevant inbound person matching that in his or her valid travel document to show that:
- the relevant inbound person underwent a test for COVID-19, the sample for which was taken from the relevant inbound person within 24 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the specified aircraft;
- the test conducted on the sample was a RAT for COVID-19;
- the relevant inbound person was tested negative for COVID-19
All travellers to Hong Kong will also no longer need to present documentary proof of the ISO 15189 accreditation or recognition of the laboratory/healthcare institution that did their pre-departure PCR test.
Hong Kong will scrap its pre-departure PCR test requirement for transit passengers passing through Hong Kong International Airport from 1 June 2022, giving Cathay Pacific a much-needed shot in the arm. That said, there’s limited connectivity on CX between SIN and HKG at the moment, so we’ll need to wait for additional services before this becomes a viable routing.
Hopefully this points to a broader relaxation of restrictions in the near future, and more opportunities to burn those Asia Miles.