China to totally reopen borders with Hong Kong, Macau

HONG KONG: China mentioned on Friday it should absolutely restore journey throughout its borders with Hong Kong and Macau subsequent week, dropping Covid testing necessities and each day quotas after a prolonged pandemic separation.

The semi-autonomous cities have each caught to Beijing’s zero-Covid technique for practically three years, splitting households, slicing off tourism and suffocating companies.

The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Workplace mentioned on Friday that each one remaining restrictions could be dropped beginning midnight on February 6, with group excursions allowed to renew.

Restricted journey throughout the border between Hong Kong and mainland China resumed in January after Beijing abruptly axed its isolationist coverage.

Initially, solely 60,000 folks have been allowed to cross every day in both course and so they have been required to indicate a unfavourable PCR check.

Hong Kong chief John Lee mentioned on Friday that the partial reopening had been “orderly, protected and clean”.

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Hong Kong’s prolonged separation from its greatest supply of progress inflicted a heavy toll, with some estimating it value the monetary hub $27 billion.

Mainlanders have lengthy made up the overwhelming majority of holiday makers to Hong Kong, with round 51 million arriving in 2018, practically seven occasions town’s inhabitants.

Metropolis officers are hoping an inflow of holiday makers will revitalise the recession-hit economic system, injecting money into the once-vibrant tourism and retail sectors.

Unvaccinated abroad travellers will probably be allowed to go to Hong Kong beginning Monday, however Lee mentioned pre-arrival fast antigen exams will nonetheless be required.

“As the total reopening of the border with mainland China will convey a big surge in journey, to make sure dangers are manageable we are going to preserve the testing requirement for abroad travellers for a interval of remark,” he mentioned.

The total relaunch of journey with the mainland comes a day after Lee rolled out a rebranding marketing campaign to woo abroad vacationers, pledging greater than half 1,000,000 free flights and “no isolation, no quarantine and no restrictions”.

Outside masking stays obligatory in Hong Kong, although Lee has mentioned the coverage may very well be scrapped after the winter flu surge.