With the holiday season on the horizon, Hong Kong has loosened its travel restrictions. The new arrangements mark the opening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong. Along with lifting the ‘0+3’ medical surveillance requirement, the city has also eliminated its ‘amber code’ rule. The amber code previously banned international tourists from entering restaurants and bars for three days after their arrival.
But at least some aspect of the pandemic-era travel landscape has become the new normal: testing requirements and travel insurance. You must have set your travel budget, purchased your flight tickets and made your hotel bookings in Hong Kong. But what about the COVID-related costs? Did you consider that travel insurance? That’ll be some extra dollars. Thank you! COVID testing alone will add up to HKD 500 (INR 5,310) to your budget.
Are you planning to visit Hong Kong? Make sure you consider these COVID-related travel expenses.
Hong Kong travel: COVID-related costs for incoming passengers
1. PCR test on the third day of arrival
According to the updated guidelines, you must undergo PCR tests on Day 1 and Day 3 of your arrival. While you do not have to pay for the test at the airport after arrival, you will have to incur the costs on the third day. Hong Kong has several mobile specimen collection stations and private hospitals that offer PCR tests. The cost of a PCR test is HKD150 (INR 1,593) at testing centres. The fees at private hospitals like Canossa Hospital, Gleneagles, and Hong Kong Baptist Hospital range from HKD1,320 (INR 14,018) to HKD2,000 (INR 21,240).
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2. Medical fee if you test positive
Travelling is still a slippery slope. And while we slowly slide back to normal, the chances of getting infected while travelling remain. In Hong Kong, you must take certified tests on days one and three. If you test positive at any point, you will then be subjected to immediate quarantine, incurring all the medical costs. Later, if you experience symptoms during your Hong Kong visit, you must shell out anything between HKD300 (INR 3,186) to HKD 800 (INR 8,496) to consult a doctor.
3. Travel insurance with COVID-19 benefits
This helpful safety net has saved the day—not to mention plenty of money—countless times for travellers in the last few years. And while most travel insurance policies automatically include COVID-19 benefits, they don’t cover border closures and government advisories. In addition, many premium travel rewards cards with substantial travel insurance benefits have some limitations. Therefore, be sure to read up on your specific uses. The cost of a travel health insurance policy varies just as much as any other form of private insurance.
4. COVID penalty if you break the rules
Hong Kong has enforced strict fines and punishment who fail to comply with the COVID-19 rules. Any incoming traveller can be liable to a maximum penalty of HKD10,000 (INR 1,06,203) and imprisonment for six months. So, if you’re stepping outside, remember to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and frequently wash your hands.
5. Return-travel testing
Most countries require testing before departure. If you need a negative coronavirus test before returning home, you will have to shell out a few more Hong Kong dollars to get a test done. That can cost you up to HKD200 (INR 2,124) in private hospitals. In addition, these costs can quickly escalate if you test positive.
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With social distancing, face masks, and testing requirements, travel is entirely different now.
(Hero image: Courtesy of Ruslan Bardash/Unsplash; Feature image: courtesy Need Pix)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong
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