Hong Kong in the Time of Corona | 3+4 Hotel Quarantine Arrangement

We have been waiting for Hong Kong to announce its shortened mandatory quarantine so we could finally see my sister again and of course, visit HK Disneyland again. The day we’ve been waiting for finally arrived – it lessened their hotel quarantine days in to 3 days! We didn’t hesitate and booked right there and then for Mom, Coco and I. This will be our first out of the country trip since December 2018 Hong Kong trip, pre-pandemic.
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Of course, I will be sharing all the things you need to know if you want to visit HK, as of August 2022 | 8th Cycle (August 1 to October 31, 2022) – includes requirements, quarantine and swab details, and everything that happened in the airport and in the hotel.

Who are allowed to enter Hong Kong?

Travelers coming to Hong Kong who came from any place outside of China in the last 14 days before day of travel and who have been fully vaccinated.

Children aged 11 or below who are yet to be vaccinated can also board the flights to Hong Kong given that they are accompanied by relevant persons who have fulfilled the boarding requirements, provided that they are able to present a negative RT-PCR for Covid-19. Children below 3 are not required to have a proof of the 48-hour pre-departure nucleic acid test when boarding, upon arrival in Hong Kong, they will still be subjected to PCR-based nucleic acid tests, normally conducted through stool samples for ages 3 and below.

What are the requirements needed to enter Hong Kong?

Coming from the pre-flight information of Cebu Pacific, we need the following to enter HK:
1. Negative PCR-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19, conducted within 48 hours before the scheduled time of departure.
2. Recognized Vaccination Record
3. Confirmation of room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for 3 nights, in a designated quarantine hotel.
4. Online Health and Quarantine Declaration Form – All persons boarding flights to Hong Kong from overseas places or Taiwan are required to submit the form online in advance (as early as three days before the day of arrival).
5. Bureau of Immigration Travel Declaration form (ours came from the pre-flight info of CebuPac)

What did we prepare for the trip?

1. We booked our plane tickets via Cebu Pacific.
2. Booked our quarantine hotels. You can check this page (valid until October 31, 2022).
3. Got our ICV (Bureau of Quarantine Covid-19 Vaccine Certificate). I booked to get ours here.
4. Looked for an RT-PCR that can be used for travel. We had ours at Singapore Diagnostics around 30+ hours before our flight. It is required to be tested at least 48 hours. We got out results 9 hours after. Read more about it here.
5. We prepared hard copies of all requirements – Flight Itinerary, Quarantine Hotel Booking confirmation, Negative RT-PCR result, and Bureau of Immigration form. Also added my marriage certificate and my son’s birth certificate to be sure.
6. Fill this up prior to flight since it is kind of long and it might stress you if you decide to fill it up in the airport. 1) https://www.chp.gov.hk/hdf/ – click make declaration (blue). Fill up everything. prepare your passport number, flight details, quarantine hotel booking number and photo of your ICV. After which, save your Green QR Code. For my son, I used my own mobile number and email address to fill up this form. 2) Bureau of Immigration form
7. We made sure that we are healthy because just a tiny tinge of the virus, the result will give you a negative in HK.

Note: 1) I used my PH mobile number in all the online and written forms that I filled up. The only time we used HK mobile number was when we are already out of the quarantine hotel, and we went to the community center to have our PCR. 2) All the things that we did and prepared for the trip for the adults are all the same for the child.

Upon Arrival at the Airport

We arrived NAIA T3 at 1:16PM. Line going in the airport was very long but since we have senior citizen privilege c/o my mom, we were in in 5 minutes. Took another 30 minutes before we were able to check in. Prepare you passport, negative RT-PCR result, Yellow Card, printed flight itinerary and the Green QR code from the health declaration.

We didn’t have check in luggage. But we brought small suitcase each and made sure it is 7kg since it was the only allowable weight for carry on luggage. But since I brought my laptop it was in a Jansport back pack and my Jujube BFF bag which has Coco’s Nintendo Switch, toys, snacks and other important stuff. My mom has a smaller backpack with food in it. They were quite strict as we watched the other passengers. They didn’t weigh ours nor check the backpacks though. I assume it is because I have a child with me whereas others had none.
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We also had special privileges going in the immigration. The IO just asked if he is my son and if his father knows we were going out of the country. He also asked Coco if he is the same boy in the picture of his passport. The photo was a thin 5 year old Coco, which is very different from his face now. He asked for Coco’s birthday to which he replied correctly.

There were no lines at the security check in. I was kind of hesitant with my flat iron and tiny tripod but yes, they are allow that for carry on.

We then headed to the Marhaba Lounge for a more comfortable stay while we wait for boarding. Say hi to the food that I ate.
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Boarding was at 4:40PM so we went out the lounge at 4:40PM. While going to the boarding gate, we heard a last call for our flight from the PA system. It was just 4:48PM. We were surprised since we thought we would arrive our gate while people are still coming in. Maybe they opened the boarding gate early. Anyway we run through gates 114 all the way to 107. It was so far! Imagine our breathlessness after. Anyway, we weren’t the last to go in because after we entered the line still continued and on our supposed take off at 5:25PM, it was announced that flight will be delayed for 15 minutes as we were waiting for passengers stuck at the immigration.
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We finally took off at 6:03PM and arrived at exactly 1 hour and 40 minutes,  to a full stop at the Hong Kong International Airport at 7:58PM. 15 minutes walk to Temporary Specimen Collection Center. Prepare your Green QR code and passport as you wait in line. When registering before the procedure, if you are a group staying in one hotel room, you should go together. They will put sticker markings to differentiate the green lanyards and test kits that they will give you. We were done with our Hybrid Swab Test in 15 minutes. While in line, they do random temperature check. They did with Coco. The Hybrid swab test that they did weren’t that deep, around the nostrils only,  compare to the nasal swab tests they do in the Philippines. But as my sister says, it really detects even a tinge of the virus. When I finished my test, I could already see Coco’s antigen which produced a negative result.

We then walked to the train that would bring us to the Immigration. Fill up the Arrival Card plus prepare your boarding pass, Bureau of Immigration Travel Declaration form. You can then reclaim your luggage. To exit luggage reclaim area, they will scan your green lanyard then next stop is the arrival hall. That scan from the luggage reclaim is when you will know if you are positive or negative on your antigen. They will not tell you anything. But if you were able to pass and head to the arrival hall, then it means you are negative. Afterwards, you’ll just follow all other people passing through. You’ll see signages for self-paid taxi or free shuttle. Since we opt for free shuttle, we went to that route. At the registration, your green lanyard will be scanned, they will give you a bag tags for luggage and give you your bus lane number. Our designated quarantine hotel (DQH) is in #3.
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We just waited for 18 minutes before we were assisted going to our shuttle. All in all from the moment we stepped in the HKIA to the moment we rode our shuttle, it was an hour and 36 minute process. Not bad. Travel time from HKIA to our hotel was an hour and 10 minutes. We were 3rd stop after Rambler Plaza and Ramada hotels.

What to do upon arriving the DQH

1. Register your arrival at the booth, they will need your passport. They will give you your RAT Kits, 1 box per person and 1 thermometer per person.
2. Download Compulsory Quarantine Order once it is sent to your email. You’ll need your passport number and last 4 digit of your Green QR code.
3. You also have to register at the Electronic Covid-19 Medical Surveillance System. You need the QR code number from the Compulsory Quarantine Order that was emailed to you. Here’s the link: https://nhqsdata.hqss.ogcio.gov.hk/ibt/#/login. You will need to log in your RAT results daily at this website.
4. Read all the information, regulations etc that they will give you. There are a lots of do’s and don’ts with the DQH.
5. Make sure you have your Declaration of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Results Sheet and a Health Monitoring Checklist Sheet for Day 1 onwards.
6. Keep your green lanyard as you will surrender it to them upon check out.

We booked at Best Western Plus Hotel Hong Kong for our Designated Quarantine Hotel. Read more about our DQH experience here.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 6

Quarantine Requirement (Day 0 to Day 3):

* Day 0 is the day that you arrive at the HKIA.
* There’s a Declaration of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Results Sheet and a Health Monitoring Checklist Sheet. That’s where you will record your RAT results and temperature check and symptoms check list.
1. Must undergo compulsory quarantine for 3 nights in a Designated Quarantine Hotel.
2. Must undergo daily rapid antigen tests (RATs). These are provided by the DQH plus a thermometer. To reiterate, you need to upload your results at the Electronic Covid-19 Medical Surveillance System daily.
3. Undergo PCR-based nucleic acid tests in the Designated Quarantine Hotel on Day 2 of arrival.
4. If consecutively tested negative, you can complete compulsory quarantine in the morning of Day 3.
5. Download the Leave Home Safe App.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 5Time flew by so was we didn’t even realize we were about to check out. We quickly packed 90% of our belongings so that we would not rush so much come check out time. Sleep, Eat, Work, Play, Watch – REPEAT. Just don’t forget to do your RATs and upload them to the Electronic Covid-19 Medical Surveillance System. On your Day 2, aside from your RAT, you will also do a PCR-based nucleic acid test. PPE-ed staff arrived at 11AM and it was a very fast procedure for all three of us.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 7

What do you need to prepare to check out?

1. Passport
2. Green lanyard
3. Declaration of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test Results Sheet and a Health Monitoring Checklist Sheet
* The DQH staff will give you a Compulsory Testing Notice/Quarantine Order (ours was in a yellow sheet of paper, just 1 for all). It has the date of your arrival and the days you need to under go PCR test.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 13

Medical Surveillance Requirement (Day 4 to Day 7):

1. Make sure you already have your Leave Home Safe app even before you left your DQH at Day 3 because you need those when you enter establishments. More details about it below.
2. Continue doing your RATs from Day 4 to Day 7. Since the RAT kits given to us where only 5 pieces per box, we bought our own RAT kits good til Day 10. You still have to upload your RAT results at the Electronic Covid-19 Medical Surveillance System daily.
3. On your Day 4 and Day 6, you also have to do your PCR test. We had ours at the Community Testing Centres (CTC) near us. We got ours for free. We just walked in to the CTC. You can also do your pcr test at a mobile testing station or arrange a self-paid test by professional swab sampling at a local medical institution recognized by the Government. You will receive your results the following day via text message.
4. Those who are consecutively tested negative can complete medical surveillance in the morning of Day 7. We checked our Leave Home Safe App in the morning of our 7th day and we have already turned to blue code. You will also receive a notification that you have completed the isolation/quarantine arrangement as seen in the photo below.
5. Make sure to still follow all health protocols – face mask, alcohol, wash hands and best if you can do social distancing.
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* When we went to the Community Testing Centre, we brought our PH Passport, Compulsory Testing Notice/Quarantine Order and HK number. We used one number for all 3 of us.
* During this time, you are now checked in at your preferred hotel or accommodation and is subject to Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass.
* During Day 3 to 6, we were able to visit public spaces, ride public transportation, enter malls and grocery stores, withdraw in banks, take out food from restaurants which we ate in open spaces discreetly. Morning of Day 7, we were totally free.

Self-monitoring Requirement (Day 8 to Day 10):

1. Continue doing your RATs from Day 8 to Day 10.  You still have to upload your RAT results at the Electronic Covid-19 Medical Surveillance System daily.
2. On your 9, you have to do your last PCR test.
3. Keep all pictures of your negative RATs as it may be requested by the Centre for Health Protection for inspection.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 12

“LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app

* Travelers entering medical surveillance will be given an amber code via the contact-tracing LeaveHomeSafe app. With amber code, an individual will be allowed to leave home for shopping, and other activities and can still go to work and school. With amber code, an individual is barred from entering premises where vaccine passes are “Actively” inspected like restaurants, gyms and theme parks.
* The LHS app contains your vaccine and medical records.
* You will use the LHS app to record all your whereabouts.
* You can also check whether you have visited any venue with a COVID-19 patient at about the same time.
* Here’s the link for Android users.

What else did I prepare for our travel?

1. Although they prefer to do cashless transactions, you still need HK dollars. For credit card, they mostly use Mastercard or VISA. If you have American Express credit card, you can not use it in most situations.
2. HK Sim Card – you can buy sim cards anywhere like in Park and Shop or even in 7-11, one of their grocery stores here. You will need an HK sim card for when you do your PCR tests since they will be sending you a text message from them upon registration and that is where you will also receive your test results. We only had 1 HK sim card for all 3 of us and used just 1 number every time we did our PCR tests. My mom was the one who used this.
3. I got an 8 day unlimited data sim from Travel Sim PH. (BUY HERE: https://shope.ee/1fguVUbGWf), which I used for myself.
4. If you will travel around via public transportation, you need to get yourself an Octopus Card. They can be used in many other transactions including shopping and paying for your food. More info about the Octopus Card here. You can also download the Octopus for Tourist app if you have an iPhone 8 or an Apple Watch series 3 and later models.
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5. If you will travel around via public transportation, as long as you have internet available, you will be able to go around with the help of these apps – MTR Mobile for MTR and Light rail and and App 1933 KMB LWB for bus schedule. These are the ones that I used because it is easy to use. My sister uses Moovit for both bus and train schedules. I also use Google Maps since it will tell you your most recommended route, which stations and line you need to ride, bus routes to ride, how many stops before you go down, what time you will be arriving and even where to exit.Hong Kong Travel 22 - 9

Final Message

You may find it really overwhelming. I know, because I did. The whole airport process may seem stressful. The 3 day hotel quarantine may seem like a waste of time. The things that you need to do upon arriving until the end of your trip may seem like a big hassle. For me, it is not. As long as you prepare all the things needed, as long as you do everything that is needed to be done, everything will go by smoothly. Just take note of what needs to be done daily, especially if you are still under surveillance. Time flew by so fast, you will be surprised you are finally free.

Find all of my other Hong Kong blogs from before here and all the Hong Kong in the time of Corona blogs here.

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