You May Have 28 Days of Quarantine When Entering China via HK
20 Mar 2020
From 00:00 on March 19th, all people arriving into Hong Kong from outside the territory must undergo 14-day compulsory home quarantine or medical observation and are forbidden to leave Hong Kong during that time. This news came just days before China Wednesday announced that it had no new home grown cases of the new coronavirus since the outbreak began back in January (1). Now the focus throughout the country, including Guangdong and Macau, is on stopping the importing of cases; leading provinces and cities across the country to place strict rules on new arrivals. More on that here.
In Shenzhen, triage stations have been setup at ports of entry that require all incoming passengers to undergo testing. Whether or not they will be allowed to directly return home when they arrive depends on a number of factors (more on those below), including any rules and regulations set forth by the district you live in; which can change daily. If you're making plans to come back and are trying to get concrete answers beyond a day or two, you may get frustrated as anything you hear today may not be valid by the time you are set to return.
Guangdong Province has officially announced that as of now, those entering from abroad (including transit through Hong Kong and Macau airports) through Guangdong ports, and from other cities in the Mainland will undergo port screening, special car transfers, and community health management.
How it will work
- If the destination is the city where the port of entry is located, travelers will be transfered to their destination by a special command from the city, and 14 days of home or centralized medical observation will be carried out; if the destination is other cities in the province, the special command will be used to transfer the passenger and implement 14 days home or intensive medical observation.
- If the destination is outside the province, the Guangdong Provincial Prevention and Control Headquarters will push the passenger related information to the destination province (autonomous region, municipality directly under the central government) and arrange for transportation to ensure the passenger arrives at the destination and takes prevention and control measures.
- If the destination cannot be determined, the headquarters of the port of entry will arrange for centralized medical observation for 14 days.
We've spoken with some of the brave and heroic frontline workers defending the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to try to get some first hand information. From what they told us, Nanshan District, for example, is currently requiring everyone who has a overseas travel history to have a virus test and be quarantined. When asked if having completed the quarantine would allow people to skip the quarantine in Shenzhen, the answer was that it may help to have the medical certificate issued by the Hong Kong government to show at the Shenzhen border, but at the moment there are no policies in place about that so don't count on it really doing anything. We called the multilingual 24-hour foreigner service hotline of Guangdong Province to ask them the same question and they said any quarantine done in HK would not be considered in Guangdong at the moment. But they did point out that things are changing constantly.
Guangdong Province Multilingual 24-hour Foreigner Service Hotline: 1258088 - To assist foreigners coming to Guangdong to actively resolve issues related to prevention and control measures.
Based on what we've heard, if you need to get back to mainland China, you may want to do everything possible to avoid Hong Kong as entering the territory will absolutely lead to a 14 day quarantine there without those results not counting towards any quarantine you will, as of today, have to do in Shenzhen when you enter from Hong Kong.
What happens if you fly into Guangzhou Airport?
The dual quarantine is now leading many to look for alternate travel routes with Guangzhou airport being the most popular based on flight availability. Those who land at the Guangzhou airport with a final destination city within the province and who have overseas travel history will be escorted to their destination city via government arranged buses or vans. According to the government transport escorts, potentially sick people will not have the chance to get on the bus and will be taken to the hospital directly from airport. Reports regarding how long you will need to wait for that transportation vary. In some cases you may have to wait until your tests come back negative so be prepared.
This morning the U.S. State Department emailed out a Level 4 Global Health Advisory warning Americans to avoid all International Travel. At this point, it may be wise to consider following its recommendations.
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