In a press conference on Wednesday, October 27, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that Hong Kong residents on the Chinese mainland will be able to travel back to Hong Kong and be exempt from the 14-day quarantine starting next month. However, “numbers would be subject to a quota arrangement because only two border crossings would reopen,” reports SCMP.
The two open crossings will be the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Shenzhen Bay checkpoint. Travelers will have to present a negative COVID-19 test based on a respiratory sample.
Hong Kong’s ‘travel bubble’ with Singapore was announced two weeks ago, and will also start in November. This will be the world’s first two-way quarantine-free air route.
Talks of Hong Kong opening up borders with the Greater Bay Area have been under speculation since late September, with experts previously forecasting for mid-October, given the coronavirus cases in both areas.
It appears that all travelers entering the mainland will still have to undergo quarantine, further details have yet to be released.
In addition to many families being separated due to the quarantine restrictions, tourism is another big motivator for Hong Kong to reopen its borders. In the first nine months of this year compared to 2019, Hong Kong arrivals dropped 92.4% to 3.55 million.
The city reported eight new cases on Monday, all of which were imported. Hong Kong has placed 13 countries on its high-risk list: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, France, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US.
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[Cover image via Unsplash]