Beijing, Jan 5 (EFE).- China announced Thursday that it will reopen border posts with Hong Kong and Macau on Jan 8, besides resuming air travel in both semi-autonomous cities and canceling the current limit on flights to the mainland.
The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council (Chinese government), on Thursday notified the lifting of a series of restrictions that affect the flow of people between China and the cities of Hong Kong and Macao.
The measures include the resumption of issuing entry and exit permits to people who want to visit the former British and Portuguese colonies..
People coming from Hong Kong to mainland China will only need to present a negative PCR test taken not more than 48 hours prior to crossing the border.
Additionally, they will have to fill in their test results on customs health declaration cards at the border posts, according to state newspaper Global Times.
In a reversal of the practice under the strict ‘zero-COVID’ policy enforced by China for the past three years, visitors from Hong Kong and Macau will no longer be tested when they cross the border Sunday onwards.
Hong Kong had followed a similar zero tolerance policy against coronavirus until Sept 2022, when it stopped requiring compulsory quarantines in hotels.
Owing to similar strict restrictions, Singapore overtook Hong Kong as Asia’s main financial center, and rose to become the third largest business hub in the world, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.
This announcement marks another step in the same direction after in late December China announced the reopening of its borders from Jan. 8, easing travel restrictions for the first time since March 2020.
However, the rapid spread of the virus in China after revoking the anti pandemic policy has raised doubts about the credibility of official data regarding covid cases and associated deaths.
This has caused many countries in recent days to demand negative covid tests from visitors coming from China to their territory.
Beijing described such restrictions as unreasonable, although it continues to enforce the same rule – of requiring a negative Covid test – for Hong Kong travelers entering the mainland.
From Jan 8, covid will be downgraded from a Class A disease – the maximum danger level which requires strict measures for containment – to a Class B disease in China, which is contemplating more relaxed controls, marking the end of the ‘zero-COVID’ policy in practice, as it was withdrawn by the authorities following protests. EFE