Reports from SCMP indicate that quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland could resume as soon as the first week of December. Initially, the scheme will allow only a few hundred people per day to cross the border and could be expanded to a few thousand travellers in the following months. The announcement comes after weeks of negotiations between Hong Kong and Chinese officials.
Visitors to the mainland will have to present a ‘green’ health code that indicates a low level of infection and use an app listing contacts during their trip to exempt themselves from quarantine. Earlier this month, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the initial points of entry will be the land borders between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge. Priority will be given to business travellers, those visiting the elderly and those attending funerals, she added.
This arrangement would coincide with a three-day visit to the SAR by the Chinese Olympic delegation, scheduled for December 2. Earlier this month, the restricted arrivals area in Hong Kong International Airport was divided into two zones segregating mainland and international travellers in an effort to curb cross-infections. A visit by a team of mainland medical experts to inspect Hong Kong’s anti-pandemic measures at the airport, a quarantine hotel and a testing centre, among other premises, has also fuelled reports about the border reopening sooner than the previously projected summer of next year.
All these measures are said to be a precursor to a three-step process to fully reopening the borders by, or perhaps even before, June 2022. Currently, Hong Kong travellers need to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days when they arrive in the mainland.
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