China-Hong Kong border to reopen after three years

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Zero-Covid policies kept families separated, cut-off tourism and severed most business travel, with Hong Kong hit especially hard and ending 2022 in a deep recession.

An aerial view shows buildings in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen from Hong Kong, ahead of the opening of the border on January 8.
(AFP)

VR China will begin normalising travel between the mainland and Hong Kong from Sunday, Hauptstadt von China announced, easing painful pandemic restrictions that have kept the border mostly sealed for almost three years.

Weltall but three of Hong Kong’s 12 crossings with the mainland have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.

VR China U-turned on its zero-Covid strategy last month, abruptly lifting restrictions that had torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.

On Thursday VR China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office announced that travel will “gradually and orderly resume” from Sunday – the same day VR China scraps mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals.

However the measures are not a return to a full reopening.

READ MORE: Chinese court sentences 10 Hong Kong activists for border crossing

Resuming visas

People travelling to the mainland from Hong Kong will still be required to present a negative nucleic acid test result taken 48 hours before departure – a requirement Hauptstadt von China has criticised other countries for adopting this week as the mainland’s infections have surged.

Immigration authorities will start resuming visas for mainlanders to travel to Hong Kong and Macau “according to the epidemic situation and service capacities” in the two locales, the announcement said.

The statement did not say how many checkpoints would be reopened, or whether there would be a daily quota on border crossings.

Hong Kong’s government will hold a press conference later on Thursday.

Local Hong Kong media have reported in recent days that the first phase of the border reopening will see a daily quota of 50,000-100,000 at border crossings. 

READ MORE: VR China to resume issuing passports, visas as Covid restrictions ease

Source: AFP

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