Hong Kong, China move closer to restarting quarantine-free travel

Chinese thirst for travel regardless of blacklist
Courtesy: Daniel Eledut/Unsplash

Hong Kong authorities on Thursday said they made “good progress” in a meeting exploring the resumption of quarantine-free travel with their counterparts in Mainland China. 

According to a government announcement, the meeting was hosted by the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Deputy Director Huang Liuquan. 

During the meeting, Huang affirmed Hong Kong’s efforts in strengthening its anti-epidemic measures in parallel to the measures imposed by the central government.

Mainland representatives also affirmed that Hong Kong had “fostered a favourable environment for resumption of quarantine-free travel”, and they considered that Hong Kong has “basically achieved the conditions of resumption of quarantine-free travel.”

Earlier in November, South China Morning Post reported that China would be opening its borders to travellers from Hong Kong from the first week of December, citing unnamed sources from Mainland China. 

However, Hong Kong chief secretary John Lee could not give an exact date of the launch of the scheme, or give any indication into how many would be allowed to cross each day. 

Hong Kong authorities said its next move is preparing for the resumption of quarantine-free travel, including the roll-out of the “Hong Kong Health Code”, and the operation of its border control points, and measures to identify high-risk persons. 

Lee on Thursday said the final detail will be announced when a final decision is reached. 

The reopening of the border between Hong Kong and China is seen as a key step ahead of a potential opening with Macau. Hong Kong has historically accounted for between 15 percent and 20 percent of Macau’s gross gambling revenue and allowing quarantine-free travel would be a major boost to recovery.