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Hong Kong ends mask mandate, for hassle-free trips from 1 March

Hong Kong is returning further to pre-pandemic norms, with no more mask mandate for travellers to worry about from 1st March 2023.

Hong Kong has maintained some of the strictest COVID-19 health and border measures during the pandemic, and only began to reopen to tourists in any meaningful way back in September 2022 with a removal of mandatory hotel quarantine, though complications like extensive testing and movement restrictions initially remained in place.


Thankfully, there have been progressive relaxations since then to a more workable process for visitors, with testing simplified, movement restrictions scrapped, and vaccination no longer a requirement.

However, one major deterrent for many of our readers has remained in force – mandatory mask-wearing both indoors and outdoors – hardly the backdrop for a relaxing trip since similar restrictions have now been dropped almost globally.

Mask wearing mandate scrapped from 1st March

Currently, Hong Kong’s health regulations impose a strict requirement to wear a face mask in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, including on public transport, unless you are in a country park or are conducting strenuous physical activity.

The Hong Kong Government has now announced that it is ending all mask mandates from 1st March 2023.

Masks will only now be mandatory in high-risk settings, like hospitals and nursing homes.

Hong Kong has had one of the world’s longest mask mandates, in force for over 940 says, since 29th July 2020. The most recent extension to the mandate was set to see it in place until 8th March 2023 at the earliest.

Hong Kong’s mask mandate lasted for over 900 days. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The removal of the mask mandate from 1st March 2023 will mean:

  • Masks are no longer mandatory at Hong Kong International Airport
  • Masks are no longer mandatory on public transport, or in any indoor or outdoor location, except inside specified healthcare settings like hospitals

Hong Kong’s relaxation of mask-wearing requirements will no doubt be a big factor to encourage many to now visit the city again, especially from places where any such requirement was ditched long ago, like Europe, but also from Singapore, which no longer requires masks.

What about masks on flights?

Hong Kong already removed its mask-wearing requirements on flights to and from the city-state, but do note that individual airlines may still impose their own mask-wearing policy.


Thankfully this does not apply to Singapore Airlines or Scoot flights, which only require masks to be worn if the destination or origin country insists on this, which Hong Kong does not.

Singapore Airlines flights to and from Hong Kong are already mask-optional. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Cathay Pacific still requires all passengers to wear a mask on all its flights, when not eating or drinking, though this policy will hopefully now change in light of the latest government relaxation.

Update: Cathay Pacific has now removed its mask mandate for passengers and crew, effective from 1st March 2023.

Pre-departure testing remains, but it’s simple

Travel to Hong Kong hasn’t quite returned to 100% pre-pandemic norms, even following this mask relaxation.

Since 6th February 2023, a self-swab pre-departure antigen (ART) test within 24 hours of departure, or a clinic PCR test within 48 hours if you prefer, remains the only testing requirement for travel to Hong Kong.

Supervision is not required and there is no need to visit a clinic – just swab yourself at home with a S$5 ART kit.

Arriving travellers are simply asked to retain a photo of the negative test result for 90 days and provide it on request (spoiler: no one ever seems to ask for it!).


That requirement should eventually vanish too in due course, with the Hong Kong Government itself admitting earlier this month it is keeping it only “for the time being”, but it’s hardly arduous anyway.

Once the PDT is scrapped, it will return the Hong Kong travel process entirely to pre-pandemic norms – no vaccination, no testing, no movement restrictions, no masks and no silly forms.

Latest process for travel to Hong Kong

Here’s the latest process for travel to Hong Kong from outside mainland China, Macao or Taiwan.

Travel to Hong Kong

Eligibility & Vaccination
  • Hold one of over 160 nationalities to enter Hong Kong visa-free, or obtain a visa in advance
  • Vaccination is not required.
  • Travel insurance is not mandatory.
  • Tourist stays are limited to 14-180 days, depending on your nationality.
  • Singapore Citizens can visit for 90 days.
COVID-19 Tests (travellers aged 4+)
  • Self-swab pre-departure antigen (ART) COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure.
  • Take a photograph of the negative test and retain it for 90 days.
  • Recommended to conduct daily ART tests for the first five days after arrival (this is not mandatory).
  • Mask-wearing is mandatory in healthcare settings.

  Travel to Hong Kong

What if you test positive for COVID-19?

Since 30th January 2023, no quarantine is required for COVID-19 patients in the city-state, whether residents or visitors, removing the previous five-day isolation order.

Symptomatic persons should simply stay at their hotel or in their own accommodation, and avoid going out.​

If you require medical care, you can visit any of Hong Kong’s general out-patient clinics or private medical practitioners listed on the government website for the prescription of COVID-19 oral drugs and any further assistance, if required.


Bear in mind that while travel insurance is not mandatory for visitors, you will have to bear your own cost for relevant charges as a consequence of a positive COVID-19 test result​, so it’s always a good idea to have a comprehensive policy including this aspect to cover your entire trip.

Singapore – Hong Kong flights

Since Hong Kong went quarantine-free, flight schedules have progressively increased and there are now 63 weekly flights between Singapore and the city state.

That’s more than double the volume running when quarantine was first dropped in September 2022, but still less than half pre-pandemic levels of 137 per week (January 2020).

March 2023 flights are shown in the following table.

Singapore – Hong Kong flights
(March 2023)

Airline / Flight Number Aircraft Days
CX2690/759 A350-900
CX658/657 A350-900 Daily
CX714/715 A350-900 Daily
CX716/2691 A350-900
SQ882/883 777-300ER Daily
SQ892/893 A350 LH Daily
SQ894/895 A380-800 Daily
TR978/979 A320ceo
UO781/780 A320 Daily
9 Daily

Cathay Pacific in particular has ramped up to four daily flights this month, while SIA has three daily services including its highest capacity aircraft – the A380.

Cathay Pacific is now offering 28 weekly Singapore – Hong Kong flights. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

As we predicted, this led the airline to reopen its dedicated lounge at Changi T4 earlier this month, following recent reopenings in London and Tokyo.

Singapore Airlines has brought forward the reinstatement of its fourth daily Hong Kong flight from 1st October 2023 to 1st August 2023, with a new SQ898/899 service operated by the Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft.

Scoot is upgauging its Hong Kong services from Airbus A320 family aircraft to the larger Boeing 787 from the start of the northern summer season on 26th March 2023.

Hong Kong has now featured in SIA’s Spontaneous Escapes monthly award promotion in January 2023, February 2023 and March 2023, with discounted redemptions in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class, including on the Airbus A380.

Let’s hope the trend continues for the April offer, which will be released in mid-March.


Hong Kong is effectively returning to pre-COVID normalcy from 1st March 2023, axing its strict mask mandate and joining countries like Singapore and South Korea by now only requiring face coverings in healthcare settings.

That’s great news for our readers, many of whom have been put off making a trip to the city-state while this restriction was still in place.

Masks aside, Hong Kong is also essentially back to a pre-pandemic travel process for visitors and returning residents, with only a self-swab ART test to conduct yourself at home, snapping a photo of the negative result in case anyone asks to see it later.

That requirement should eventually vanish too in due course, but it’s hardly a show-stopper, and frankly no one checks it anyway.

Crucially there is no vaccination requirement, no quarantine, no isolation, no movement restrictions, no vaccine pass, no forms to complete, no on-arrival or post-arrival testing, and from 1st March 2023, no mask-wearing to worry about either.

Isolation has also been scrapped for those testing positive while in the city-state – you’re now just recommended to stay in your accommodation, and there is no longer a special list of hotels where you can do this.

Will you be planning a trip to mask-optional Hong Kong from 1st March? Let us know in the comments section below!

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)



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