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Hong Kong will shorten COVID-19 quarantine period to 14 days

Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Hong Kong will shorten its 21-day quarantine to 14 days starting next month, officials announced on Thursday.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that, starting Feb. 5, incoming travelers will need to quarantine in a hotel followed by seven days of self-quarantine at home.

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Incoming travelers will also be required to test twice during the seven-day home-quarantine period.

Large-scale events will stay banned until Feb. 17, as will the suspension of in-class teaching at schools.

The moves come as officials consider Omicron's short incubation period, which allows it to spread more quickly, amid a COVID-19 outbreak that already is challenging the city's capacity for quarantining people at high risk of the disease.

While Lam said Hong Kong is "in control of the virus," she noted that if there is room to adjust quarantine protocols leaders will make changes.

"We are doing a review every day," Lam said. "Once we have further adjustments, we will announce."

The city's zero-COVID strategy -- which mirrors the strategy of mainland China -- is one of the most strict policies in the world. It comes, however, amid fears that Hong Kong's international business hub may be affected by the spread of the virus.

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Only Hong Kong residents are currently allowed to return from high-risk areas, and travel from eight countries has been banned altogether.

A recent outbreak found among small animals also prompted Hong Kong officials to euthanize 2,000 animals.

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