China announces reopening of border with Hong Kong | Aviation

The announcement comes after three years of border controls that have isolated the financial hub and mainland China.

China announced it would open its border with Hong Kong on Sunday, ending three years of pandemic restrictions that have isolated the financial hub and mainland China.

Hong Kong residents traveling to mainland China will no longer have to quarantine or undergo COVID-19 testing upon their arrival as part of moves to resume cross-border travel “gradually and with orderly,” China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in a statement on Thursday.

Travelers will still have to provide a negative COVID test result 48 hours prior to travel and complete a health declaration form.

China will also continue to issue tourist and business visas to mainland residents to Hong Kong.

According to government data, more than 236 million trips were made across the border before the pandemic.

The moves come after Beijing said it would reopen international borders and abolish mandatory quarantines from January 8.

The announcement is the latest step by China to relax its controversial “no COVID” policy, which is said to have saved many lives but has come at grueling social and economic costs.

Hong Kong, which followed a less stringent version of its “COVID-free” strategy for much of the pandemic, lifted most restrictions in December, although face masks are still mandatory in Hong Kong. most establishments.

COVID cases in China have increased in recent weeks following the lifting of harsh restrictions such as lockdowns and mandatory quarantines. Health authorities have reported only a handful of deaths despite evidence from hospitals, morgues and crematoriums that deaths have risen sharply across the country. Some health experts have predicted the country could have up to 2 million deaths due to its population’s lack of natural immunity and patchy vaccination rates among the elderly.

Countries including France, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States have introduced COVID tests and other measures for travelers from China amid concerns fear that increased cases could lead to the emergence of new and more dangerous variants.

China has criticized measures such as “unacceptable” and lacks scientific basis.

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