Passengers arrive at the Hong Kong International Airport on April 1, 2022, after the city lifted a flight ban on nine countries amid the pandemic. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced on Sunday that it will try out an upgraded electronic health declaration system for inbound passengers starting Thursday to streamline quarantine procedures and reduce the time arrivals spend at the Hong Kong International Airport.
During the trial period starting Thursday, all persons boarding flights to Hong Kong are required to complete the Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the DH in advance and present the health declaration QR code generated after completion of the declaration (which can be a downloadable version of the QR code, a screen shot or a printout) at check-in for verification by the airline
In a statement issued on Sunday afternoon, the government said the new system requires inbound persons to complete the online electronic health declaration of the Department of Health (DH) and obtain a QR code before boarding their flights to Hong Kong.
"Completing the health declaration prior to boarding allows smoother arrival quarantine procedures for inbound persons at the HKIA,” a government spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement.
“It will also facilitate the gradual introduction of electronic processing of arrival quarantine procedures, thereby reducing the need for manual processing and hence the waiting time and bottlenecks,” he added.
During the trial period starting Thursday, all persons boarding flights to Hong Kong are required to complete the Health & Quarantine Information Declaration of the DH in advance and present the health declaration QR code generated after completion of the declaration (which can be a downloadable version of the QR code, a screen shot or a printout) at check-in for verification by the airline.
The health declaration QR code will be valid for 96 hours so inbound persons can submit the declaration form as early as three days before their scheduled arrival time in Hong Kong.
With the upgraded electronic health declaration system, inbound persons will also be required to provide information such as proof of completion of vaccination and reservation reference numbers of designated quarantine hotels.
According to the statement, those who cannot produce the electronic health declaration QR code will still be allowed to board the flight during the trial period. Inbound persons will also still need to present required documents when boarding their flight.
“(But) upon completion of the trial and enhancement of the systems, inbound persons must obtain the electronic health declaration QR code before they can board a flight to Hong Kong,”the statement reads.
The government said it was planning to upgrade the electronic health declaration system and the functions of the QR code in August so that the pre-boarding documentation verification process can be gradually digitalized and conducted via the system, including the verification of proof of vaccination and DQH reservations.
The verified information will then be integrated into the QR code so that inbound persons can use it for procedures prior to boarding and upon arrival at the HKIA, such as inbound quarantine, "test-and-hold", and closed-loop transportation to DQHs.
“Following the implementation of the upgraded functions of the electronic health declaration system, inbound persons who have verified the required information through the declaration system will be allowed to make use of the 'express channel' at the airport to go through the arrival quarantine procedures and be arranged for point-to-point transportation to DQHs by using the health declaration QR code, thus significantly cutting down the time they need to spend at the airport," the spokesman said.
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