Hong Kong Travel, Given the Novel Coronavirus, is perhaps not on many people's agenda. Nevertheless, I'll have work travel there very briefly in the first half of this year, and some of our clients are still traveling to Hong Kong as well. Here are my tips if you're still planning to go.
1. Carefully Monitor Your Flights
United and American Airlines, among many other airlines, have suspended their flights to Hong Kong until April and Cathay Pacific has cut flights (including one I was on; fortunately I was put on a later flight the same day), so be sure to carefully monitor your flights in and out of Hong Kong, as there may well be cancellations or changes to them.
2. Bring Your Own N95 Masks and Hand Sanitizer
Certainly some pharmacies have masks and hand sanitizer, but supplies can be inconsistent, so it's best to simply ensure you bring your own supply with you to cover the duration of your stay, plus some extra, just in case. Note that a mask should be worn no longer than 6-8 hours straight before being replaced. Also note that N95 respirators, per the CDC, filter out at least 95% of very small particles, including bacteria and viruses, but some do get through, so it's not perfect protection. Nevertheless the 3M N95 masks can filter out a surprising amount of particles–even ones smaller than the coronavirus particles.
3. Always Wear a Mask on Public Transport
Recently there was a case where someone wasn't wearing a mask and attempted to board public transit; the bus driver insisted the passenger wear a mask, and even handed one to him, but the passenger didn't want to. All the other bus passengers insisted that the man wear a mask, and there was a stand-off until the police were called. Don't be that person–just wear a mask, if you'll be taking public transit.
4. Note Event and Venue Closures
Major events such as Art Basel, Art Central and the Hong Kong Arts Festival have been cancelled, and attractions such as Hong Kong Disneyland, the sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck, Ngong Ping 360 cable car service and others are closed, so double check current opening hours before heading out.
5. Most Hotel Pools are Closed, Some Restaurants Have Reduced Hours
Note that due to the coronavirus, most hotel pools, such as at the Four Seasons Hong Kong and Rosewood Hong Kong, are temporarily closed. Some restaurants have also closed or have reduced hours.
6. Practice Good Hygiene
This of course isn't Hong Kong specific, or even coronavirus specific, but is helpful in general for staying healthy during flu season. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and ensure kids traveling with you do the same. Avoid touching your face or nose with your hands. Use gloves or a tissue to open doors, press elevator buttons, and touch other frequently touched surfaces.
7. Use Disinfectant Wipes on the Airplane and Your Electronic Devices
Use Lysol or Clorax disinfectant wipes to wipe down your airplane seat, IFE and seat controls, as well as your phone or other electronic devices you use. Disinfectant wipes are also handy in your hotel room, for the remote control and phone.
8. Keep a Sense of Perspective
At time of writing, there were only 61 cases of coronavirus in Hong Kong, which has a population of roughly 8 million. There's a greater chance of being involved in a traffic accident than becoming infected with coronavirus, especially if practicing good hygiene.
What's your favorite Hong Kong experience?
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