China to Fully Reopen Borders with Hong Kong

China has announced it will completely reopen its borders with Hong Kong dropping Covid-19 testing requirements after nearly three years of the border closure.


As Aljazeera reports, the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said on Friday, February 3 that all remaining restrictions would be dropped starting from midnight on February 6, with group tours allowed to restart.

China to Reopen Borders with Hong Kong after Closure.
PHOTO/COURTESY:China to Reopen Borders with Hong Kong after Closure.

Full opening of the borders comes a day after Hong Kong leader John Lee rolled out a rebranding campaign to woo overseas tourists, pledging more than half a million free flights and “no isolation, no quarantine, and no restrictions”.

Further, Limited travel across the border between Hong Kong and mainland China resumed in January after Beijing abandoned the Covid-zero strategy that had split families, cut off tourism, and suffocated businesses.

China to Reopen Borders with Hong Kong after Closure.
PHOTO/COURTESY:China’s Airport.

Hong Kong has been largely sealed off for much of the past three years as its government sought to follow Beijing’s pandemic policies with the mandatory quarantine of up to three weeks for arrivals, as well as intensive testing and screening.

Searches on the Chinese travel website Qunar for round-trip air tickets between Hong Kong and the mainland increased seven-fold on Friday after China’s announcement, data from state media China Transportation News showed.

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People from the mainland have long made up the vast majority of visitors to Hong Kong, with about 51 million arrivals in 2018, nearly seven times the city’s population.

The prolonged pandemic restrictions are estimated to have cost the territory about $27bn and local officials are hoping an influx of visitors will revitalize the once-vibrant tourism and retail industries.

China to Reopen Borders with Hong Kong after Closure.
FILE PHOTO [REUTERS-Tyrone Siu]: A general view of skyline buildings, in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2021.

Outdoor masking remains compulsory in Hong Kong, although Lee has said the policy could be scrapped once cases of flu ease.

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