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Asia Minute: Hong Kong’s lingering quarantine produces mixed results

Virus Outbreak Hong Kong
Kin Cheung/AP
People wearing face masks walk along a side street in Mongkok, a shopping district of Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. Hong Kong will reduce the mandatory hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals to three days from a week, the city's leader said Monday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Public health guidance is shifting in Hawaiʻi and around the country when it comes to COVID-19. Last week, federal authorities eased recommendations on social distancing and quarantine. There have also been some changes in Hong Kong, but challenges remain there.

It’s been about a week since Hong Kong adjusted its rules on quarantines.

Until recently, anyone arriving in the city would have to spend a week isolated in a hotel.

Now that’s down to three nights — but the following four nights still need to be spent quarantining at home.

Even so, that change drew an instant reaction.

The day the move was announced, China’s largest online travel agency reported a near tripling of bookings for flights to Hong Kong.

Many of the travel plans come from overseas travelers planning to use Hong Kong as a transfer point to other destinations in Asia.

But there’s still some hesitancy about travel to Hong Kong, especially among one particular group.

The Financial Times reports international schools are struggling to hire teachers, just days before the start of a new school year.

Salaries have spiked, but the FT says that about 20% of Hong Kong’s 50 international schools are still in the process of hiring teachers and those quarantine rules are a key factor.

One result: a loss of experienced teachers.

It quotes a teacher from one international school as saying, “If the quarantine does not go to zero, I suspect that a lot more teachers will leave by the end of this year.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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