Asia Minute: Hong Kong Travel Dates Remain Uncertain

May 15, 2020

As we come to the close of another week, more businesses are opening, but that does not include the travel industry. In Hong Kong, government officials say they’re looking at a possible return to travelers at some point this summer.

You won’t be getting on a plane to Hong Kong anytime soon.

Since March 25th, the government has closed its borders to all non-residents except those coming from mainland China, Macau or Taiwan.

Returning residents are tested immediately for the coronavirus, and stay in supervised holding centers until they get their results. If they’re positive or show any symptoms, they go straight to a hospital. If they test negative, they go straight to quarantine — with an electronic bracelet linked to a cell phone app.

After 14 days, returning residents need to complete another test, and if that’s positive they’re taken to the hospital — otherwise, they’re cleared to return to normal activities.

Hong Kong’s Commerce Minister says the government may be able to accept other travelers as early as some point this summer.

Edward Yau told the South China Morning Post the first group of visitors to be targeted won’t be tourists, but business travelers — saying “that would bring back some sort of premium customers to Hong Kong.”

When flights do open up to foreigners, there may be some unusual cleaning options available. Agence France Presse reports the Hong Kong Airport is testing a new full-body disinfection booth on some of its employees.

It looks like a vertical tanning booth with nozzles that spray people down with a disinfectant for 40 seconds — long enough, the maker says, to destroy any trace of the coronavirus.