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HK drops curbs on incoming travelers, scraps COVID app

HONG KONG — Arrivals in Hong Kong (HK) will be free from COVID-19 movement restrictions from Wednesday and no longer barred from certain venues, Chief Executive John Lee said, and the city will also scrap use of a government-mandated COVID-19 mobile application.

The news of a further loosening of COVID-19 curbs in the global financial hub, which has trailed most of the world in easing them, is set to boost resumption of travel and business.

An amber code issued to international arrivals for their first three days in Hong Kong meant they were not allowed to eat or drink inside bars and restaurants.

From Wednesday the travelers will be allowed to all locales provided they test negative for COVID-19 on arrival, Mr. Lee said.

The government’s move to scrap its mobility-tracking app governing access to restaurants and venues such as gyms, clubs and salons, comes after mainland China dropped the requirement.

Business groups, diplomats and many residents had slammed Hong Kong’s COVID-19 rules, saying they threatened its competitiveness and standing as an international financial center.

The rules have weighed on Hong Kong’s economy since early 2020, speeding up an exodus of businesses, expatriates and local families that have left amid a drive by Beijing to more closely control the former British colony. — Reuters

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