The Chinese government announced Thursday that it will reopen its border with Hong Kong on January 8, nearly three years after it was largely closed in an effort to contain the spread of Covid.
Up to 60,000 Hong Kong residents will be able to enter the mainland as the gradual reopening of border checkpoints begins, Hong Kong President John Lee told the media on Thursday after an announcement from Beijing.
This change will remove what was considered a mandatory quarantine for travelers from Hong Kong to the mainland. All travelers will need to have a negative Covid test via PCR test within 48 hours of transit, and passenger quotas apply for travel in both directions.
The announced reopening comes on the same day that China will drop quarantine requirements for international arrivals and remove a number of Covid restrictions on airlines since the start of the pandemic.
The changes come amid Beijing’s brutal dismantling of the Covid stifle after nationwide protests. An apparent reopening of the mainland after three years of self-imposed global isolation, during which efforts to resume regular transit with Hong Kong have been repeatedly delayed.
Most of the previously busy border crossings between Hong Kong and mainland China have been closed since the start of 2020, placing a heavy burden on families and businesses with ties to both sides.
The quota includes 50,000 people traveling through three land checkpoints, while the remaining 10,000 is for people traveling through Hong Kong International Airport, two ferry docks and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
Li said the cap does not apply to Hong Kong residents returning to Hong Kong from the mainland, or Chinese nationals traveling to the mainland from Hong Kong.
In addition to testing, advance reservations will also be required for some flights.
According to a statement from China’s State Council, flights from neighboring Hong Kong and Macau to mainland China will resume, and restrictions on passenger capacity will be lifted; The statement said that the number of flights will increase in a “phase and orderly” manner.
Land and sea border checkpoints between mainland China and Hong Kong and Macao will also be resumed in a “gradual and orderly” manner.
The statement added that China will also resume issuing tourist and business visas to mainland Chinese residents traveling to Hong Kong.