(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong may announce a reduction in the amount of time international travelers need to spend in mandatory hotel quarantine as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, with discussions over the scale of the change still ongoing.

While officials had anticipated making an announcement on Friday, it has been pushed back to Monday at the earliest since no firm decision has yet been made on the parameters of the cut, according to one person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. 

A representative for the Department of Health said questions about the quarantine policy should be sent to the chief executive’s office, which didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Hong Kong currently requires everyone arriving in the city to test negative for Covid within 48 hours of departure and on arrival, and then spend a week isolated in a hotel to ensure an infection wasn’t missed during the incubation period. The rules have put a stranglehold on visitors to the once booming Asian financial hub and made international travel difficult for those who live in the city. 

A briefing for Chief Executive John Lee’s advisers in the Executive Council was called off on Friday morning because of “technical issues,’ the South China Morning Post reported, without citing its sources. A meeting with the hotels that provide quarantine services was also canceled, the paper said. 

One person said top officials are “still discussing” the best way forward, after conducting a scientific review of Hong Kong’s Covid figures to see which option is best. Officials have discussed cutting the hotel quarantine from seven days to three, four, or five, the person said. Travelers are expected to be told to remain largely at home, or to avoid high-risk venues, for an additional period of time that is expected to add up to the full week.

More people are being diagnosed with Covid on the third day in hotel quarantine than on the fifth day since the rules changed to add the earlier testing time, according to another person familiar with the discussions. 


(Adds that the health department deferred to the chief executive’s office on quarantine questions in the third paragraph.)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.