Easing COVID restrictions, authorities in Hong Kong on Tuesday announced that movement of overseas travellers coming to Hong Kong will no longer be curtailed, and that they can now visit bars and restaurants right after their arrival. The city authorities also announced their decision to scrap the government-mandated COVID scanning app that was required by residents to enter public places.

“We have made these two decisions, because we have considered the data and the risks,” Hong Kong chief executive John Lee said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. (Also Read | Google Year in Search 2022: Here are the top 10 cultural landmarks in the world)

The new COVID guidelines will come into effect from Wednesday, he said, adding that entry to certain venues will still require proof of vaccination.

The move to ease COVID curbs comes a day after mainland China announced that it is scrapping its COVID tracking app.

While most of the countries had already withdrawn COVID restrictions, Hong Kong was allowed to follow a less strict version of China’s zero-COVID strategy.

During the pandemic, the entry to public and commercial places was controlled by an app called “LeaveHomeSafe” which was linked to residents’ vaccination status.

The strict COVID restrictions had adversely impacted the tourism sector and impeded its economy, with business groups, diplomats and many residents urging an end to restrictions.

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