Children aged 3 and below exempted from PCR tests: Hong Kong govt

This comes as Hong Kong records 3,793 new Covid-19 cases on January 18, as 56 more patients pass away.


Passengers enter Hong Kong's West Kowloon Station on the first day of the reopening of cross-boundary high-speed rail services linking the SAR and the Chinese mainland on Jan 15, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

January 19, 2023

HONG KONG – Children aged 3 and below who are going to the Chinese mainland from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will no longer be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result starting Thursday, according to the HKSAR government.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the government said the change was made upon communications with mainland authorities. As for young children going to the SAR from the mainland, the government had exempted those under 3 from the testing requirement since June last year.

Hong Kong recorded 3,793 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as 56 more patients passed away, health authorities said

“In other words, starting tomorrow, young children aged 3 and below will no longer be required to undergo the 48-hour pre-departure nucleic acid test for travelling from the mainland to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to the mainland,” the statement reads.

According to the mainland’s entry requirements, all persons entering the mainland must possess proof of a negative result of a COVID-19 nucleic acid test conducted within 48 hours before their journey.

At present, no exemption is granted to any category of persons with regard to the relevant inbound nucleic acid testing requirement, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong recorded 3,793 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as 56 more patients passed away, health authorities said.

In a statement, the Centre for Health Protection said the new cases comprised 3,684 local infections and 109 imported cases. There were 3,843 new cases reported on Tuesday, 4,653 on Monday, 6,261 on Sunday and 7,749 the day before.

The 56 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the current fifth wave of infections to 12,752, the CHP added.

It said 15 residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities had 25 new infections involving 23 residents and two staff members.

The CHP added that 319 schools reported 373 students and 57 staff members getting infeccted with the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch had identified 227 cases of XBB, 38 of BQ.1.1, 13 of BF.7, eight of BA.2.75.2, seven of BA.4.6, six of XBD and one of XBB.1.5 among imported cases in Hong Kong.

There were also 213 cases of BQ.1.1, 187 of XBB, 37 of BF.7, 18 of XBD, four of XBB.1.5, and one of BA.2.75.2 detected among local cases, the CHP said.

It added that 41.77 percent of specimens verified by the PHLSB were linked to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.

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