The Chinese government announced on Thursday that it will reopen the border with Hong Kong on January 8, after nearly three years, to prevent the spread of Covid.
Up to 60,000 Hong Kong residents will be able to cross the border into the mainland as the gradual reopening of border checkpoints begins, Hong Kong leader John Lee told media after an announcement from Beijing on Thursday.
The change will remove the mandatory quarantine for travelers from Hong Kong to the mainland. All travelers will be required to test negative for Covid by PCR test within 48 hours of transit and passenger quotas apply for travel in both directions.
The announced reopening comes on the same day that China will lift quarantine requirements for international arrivals and lift a number of Covid restrictions on airlines since the start of the pandemic.
The changes come as Beijing abruptly dismantles its suffocating Covid controls after nationwide protests. The apparent reopening of the matter comes after three years of self-imposed global isolation, during which efforts to restore regular transit with Hong Kong were repeatedly delayed.
Most of the previously bustling border crossings between Hong Kong and mainland China have been closed since early 2020, putting a heavy burden on families and businesses with connections on both sides.
The quota includes 50,000 people traveling through the three land crossings, while the remaining 10,000 people are for those traveling via Hong Kong International Airport, two ferry piers and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
Li said the cap does not apply to Hong Kong residents returning to Hong Kong from the mainland or mainland Chinese returning to the mainland from Hong Kong.
In addition to the trial, advance bookings will also be required for some journeys.
According to a statement issued by China’s State Council, flights from Hong Kong and neighboring Macau to mainland China will resume and restrictions on passenger capacity will be lifted; It is reported that the number of flights will increase “gradually and regularly”.
Land and sea border checkpoints between mainland China and Hong Kong and Macau will also be restored in a “phased and orderly” manner.
China will also finalize the issuance of tourist and business visas for mainland Chinese residents traveling to Hong Kong.
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