COVID-19 Update #5: My Hong Kong Hotel Quarantine

Life under COVID-19 is hard. Many of us have had our movement restricted in one way or another over the past several months. I also experienced the city of Shenzhen as I never had before, where businesses and schools were closed en-mass, the majority of the populace was working from home, and people were unwilling to venture outside unless absolutely necessary. Overseas, while situations varied from country to country, many people were also faced with working remotely or downright shelter-at-home orders.

Here’s what it’s like to quarantine in Hong Kong for two weeks during COVID-19.

However, when recently traveling to Hong Kong on a business trip, I experienced a whole new level of “stay-at-home”. Specifically, at the time of my trip from Shenzhen to Hong Kong, all non-Hong Kong residents were required to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine, either in a hotel or residence, or at a centralized quarantine facility. Naturally, for both safety and comfort, I chose a hotel, and a new “adventure” began.

During a two-week period, I was more or less locked in a small room without the ability to leave. I was faced with the challenge of finding ways to ensure everything stayed clean and safe (room cleaning by hotel staff was not allowed), getting food delivered to my room on a daily basis (I initially lost the ability to pay for food when my bank restricted access to my cards), and generally staying healthy and sane. To learn more, take a look at the below video to hear about my Hong Kong quarantine experience.

Alternatively, if you’re not in the mood to watch a video, I’ve also recorded my thoughts on my hotel quarantine stay in a Twitter thread listed below. If you have any questions on any part of my quarantine story, you can send me a reply within the thread or comment below.

If you’re interested in learning more about China, Chinese culture, and business in China, please feel free to subscribe to the China Culture Corner to have future posts sent directly to your inbox. You can also follow and interact with me on social or send me a message on Twitter.

Join 2,866 other followers

Published by Sean Upton-McLaughlin

Sean is a business and communications professional based out of Shenzhen, China. He has worked for Chinese companies for the majority of his career, including well-known smartphone and technology firms. Through his mastery of the Chinese language and culture, as well as his empathy and understanding towards the Chinese point of view, he advises Chinese companies on successfully going global.

4 thoughts on “COVID-19 Update #5: My Hong Kong Hotel Quarantine

  1. Hi thanks for your VDO really useful info
    I am in Macau at present on tourist visa extensions and my year out from the rat race has fallen on its head including my trip to Korea. In researching it looks like a hotel quarantine in HK is the preffered option over an army camp near Seoul 🙂
    Can you advise me if the HK immigration process was anymore difficult than normal. I understand there is the medical part and forms and maybe of track band or wechat group maybe required.
    Just wondering though so I may get all my eggs lined up so to speak before travelling over the bridge. Was the Immigration officer more questioning in regards your reason for entry, proof of departure date and like, details of hotel… oher questions?
    Thanks for your feed back


    1. Hi Mike,

      The immigration process into Hong Kong is completely different compared to what happens during normal times, both in terms of forms to fill out, processes to go through, and the wait time required. You may get a wristband instead of a WeChat group if you are not coming from Mainland China, but I am not 100% sure who makes that decision in the immigration process. The immigration officer did indeed seem to take much longer reviewing my documents and reason for coming to Hong Kong – he also asked to see the email from the employer who invited me down to Hong Kong, though that may be because I specifically mentioned I was coming for work. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if there are “reasons for coming” that they might refuse, such as general travel, so I’d definitely suggest checking the HK immigration website on that.


  2. What was the issue with your name? Have you experienced any flack for being American since America is blaming China for this outbreak? You look well


    1. As I mentioned in the video, the hyphen in my last name is not used in many software/systems in China, and therefore is often not recognized and the data entry cannot be processed.

      And no, as also mentioned in the video I have not seen any “anti-foreigner” or “anti-American” bias, despite the reprehensible behavior from the US government as well as many racists and bigots in the USA. The main thing I have seen online in China during COVID-19 is certain foreigners rudely and sometimes violently trying to get around temperature screening checkpoints while not wearing masks, basically thinking themselves above local laws.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: