Booking a hotel room for quarantine at peak season can be a headache, even more so in a city known for some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in the world. The situation is further compounded by a mismatch in supply and demand with more people returning from overseas in the summer. Many are being forced to delay their trips or pay through the nose as a result. The need for more proactive government intervention is obvious. If the official occupancy rate is any guide, designated quarantine hotels are only 76 per cent full up to mid-July, but industry leaders claim the rate is nearer 90 per cent. Some online discussion forums have been awash with posts lamenting the search for rooms, with prices ranging from HK$400 to HK$49,500 (US$51 to US$6,378) per night. This sorry state of affairs owes much to the city’s rigid quarantine regime. Visitors can only choose what is available from a list of approved hotels according to their budgets. Choices may be limited, taking into account the cost and the long quarantine period, up to 21 days in some cases. Understandably, officials have been careful when it comes to the supply of quarantine rooms because underutilised hotels receive government subsidies. With overseas students expected to return for the summer break, a surge in demand is to be expected, and the situation may become more acute owing to the outbreak in Taiwan prompting many Hongkongers living on the island to fly home. There may be further pressure with the relaunch of cruise holidays and the need to quarantine crew members from overseas. The changing regional and global outlook on the Covid-19 front may have made it difficult to forecast demand, but the authorities are expected to work closely with the industry and respond swiftly to situations that arise. Earlier, two upscale hotels were added to the quarantine list, taking the total number of designated hotels to 33. Why I’m worried about what I’ll eat in hotel quarantine Together with the release of some rooms not normally used, the total number available has been raised from 9,000 to 11,000. But whether there are enough to go around in different price ranges is another matter. The government and the industry must monitor the situation and ensure a steady supply of rooms to suit different budgets.