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This 8-hour health screening could be the new norm for international travel

May 14, 2020
4 min read
This 8-hour health screening could be the new norm for international travel
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Hong Kong was part of the initial wave of countries impacted by the coronavirus, and has closed its borders to non-residents since March. However, locals are still allowed to enter — with a number of caveats, including an incredibly stringent health screening process.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Hong Kong-based journalist Laurel Chor documented her experience at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) May 14 after traveling from Paris (CDG) by way of London (LHR). The newly implemented COVID-19 screening process resulted in an eight-hour wait, which she described in detail on Twitter.

Chor reported that, upon arrival, she first had to fill out a quarantine order as well as a good-health declaration before downloading a health tracking app to her phone. She was also issued a bracelet with a registered tracker.

A health department official looked through all of Chor's documents, pointed out that she could exit her quarantine on May 28 if she stayed healthy, then showed her how to track any symptoms as well as her temperature. He also issued her a thermometer to use at home. Chor was also asked to report her method of transportation home, including license plate number of the vehicle.

After Chor and her fellow passengers collected their baggage, a series of buses transported them to the Asia World Expo convention center, where they left their luggage in one area and picked up identification tags before being shuttled to another part of the center to receive a 30-page bilingual packet of information and provide a test sample. Each passenger received a unique number and had to wait their turn for the self-test, which required deep-throat saliva self-collected within semi-private screening booths.

Once the samples had been collected, the long wait for test results began. Chor described 16 rows of 12 individual tables and chairs per row set up at safe distances from each other, 192 in total, sprinkled throughout the vast exhibition hall. Sandwiches and bottled water were distributed to each passenger, with crackers and more water offered later on. Chor noticed one sanitation error: One worker accepted an exchanged sandwich and put it back into the food cart. She noted that the workers did their best to avoid stating a number for wait times, but admitted that the process could take up to eight hours.

Chor finally got her test results well past the six-hour waiting mark: Negative for COVID-19. She was released to her waiting family, and will be allowed to leave her home after 14 days if she remains healthy. Chor noted that breaking her quarantine for any reason would be subject to a potential fine of up to $3,225 and up to six months in jail.

Chor's full experience, as documented on Twitter, can be read here.

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While Hong Kong's all-day screening process is undeniably rigorous, strict health protocols will likely become the new norm for post-COVID-19 travel around the world, just as heightened security and baggage restrictions became the norm following 9/11. South Korea already has similarly stringent protocols in place, according to one recent traveler, and many other East Asian countries such as Taiwan already have temperature screening and hygienic procedures in place throughout their airports.

The impact of such screening procedures will be momentous for the travel industry: People may become more reluctant to travel not just because of safety concerns, but also because a two-week quarantine is unrealistic for nearly any vacationer. At least in some destinations such as Iceland, travelers will be able to wait on their test results from the comfort of their hotel or Airbnb.

Related: Your summer trip to Iceland may be back on

Related: Greece is planning to open to tourists

Related: This iconic beach destination just banned cruises until 2022

Feature image by Michel Porro/Newsmakers.

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more