(Bloomberg) -- The Hong Kong government is considering shortening the city’s lengthy quarantine period for travelers -- currently up to 21 days-- as the omicron variant appears to have a quicker incubation period than other strains. 

“Because of omicron taking over delta globally, we are also looking at the omicron incubation data,” Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said in an interview on Bloomberg TV Thursday. “If there’s room to adjust the quarantine period, we will do it.”

“We are doing a review everyday,” she said. “Once we have further adjustment, we will announce.”

Hong Kong has continued to hew to a zero-tolerance approach along with mainland China, a strategy that’s required increasingly aggressive measures as the virus mutates to become more transmissible. 

With the emergence of omicron and delta in the community, the former British colony has limited dining hours, shut bars, cinemas and gyms and closed schools to slow its spread. It also culled hamsters, put young children and travelers in quarantine camps, and banned flights from eight places to eliminate any potential Covid threat.

Chan said she’s “optimistic” Hong Kong can return to normal within a year. “We are in control of the virus,” she said. 

While most economies have shifted to some form of living with the virus, Hong Kong’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 has hurt its reputation as a global financial hub. The policy could keep the city cut off from most of the world until 2024 and fuel a large-scale exodus of international workers and executives, according to a draft report by the European Chamber of Commerce.

Hong Kong Covid Isolation Could Last to 2024, Euro Chamber Says

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