Back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was devastating but nearly three years later, while the world has moved on from the setback caused by the pandemic, China is still wallowing in the past as its government is trying to enforce the so-called “Zero COVID” policy which has led to the majority of the country being shut down leading to serious economic and financial strain on many citizens.
However, Hong Kong is reportedly working to open up the city-state for quarantine-free travel with mainland China as soon as January 8th. This report was made via a Facebook post early Sunday by the city’s Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-Ki.
FYI, Chan is the city’s no.2 top official and had made it known that quotas will be set in the first stage of the plan to limit the number of those that can travel to and from mainland China.
“The border will be fully opened eventually, based on the operation of the first-stage scheme, and as the scale being expanded based on conditions,” he said.
Hong Kong has also been affected by the lockdown but the return of activities is expected to boost its economy. China on the other hand had continued to keep its border shut for nearly three years now while Hong Kong had maintained strict COVID alleviation methods.
As restrictions are now being lessened, transportation methods via sea, air, and land are expected to increase.
Chan still suggested that travelers from either side should take PCR tests in order to be sure of their COVID status before making their trips.
It is not immediately clear whether the tests will be mandatory.
Despite its strict zero-COVID policy that has lasted for a long period of time, a number of cases surged in recent weeks after the country’s government began lessening the strict COVID eradication campaign.
The Jan. 8 date mentioned by Chan was the clearest indication yet that the Hong Kong government is aiming to restore quarantine-free, cross-border travel after a three-year hiatus due to COVID.
Chief Executive John Lee earlier announced that the border with mainland China is expected to reopen as soon as mid-January.
In a major step towards reopening its international borders, China will stop requiring inbound travelers to go into quarantine, also starting from Jan. 8.