Hong Kong working on ‘challenges’ to China border reopening

Beijing, Oct 18 (EFE).- Hong Kong’s leader said Tuesday that the territory’s authorities and those of mainland China are still “working to iron out some challenges” around cross-border travel amid Beijing’s ongoing zero-Covid policy.

“I will have to wait for further ideas from our mainland counterparts so that we can really work out on the details,” added Chief Executive John Lee at a media session that took place as the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was being held in Beijing.

Some sectors hope that the mainland’s zero-Covid policy that has governed the country for almost three years will be relaxed after the congress.

“We are very conscious of the need of ensuring there will be no risk given to our mainland authorities, because we know the anti-Covid situation in the mainland as well,” he said.

Lee stressed the need to study areas where adjustments were required by the city to ensure that its Covid-19 cases do not cross the border, and suggested that an as-yet untested “closed-loop” mechanism may be a way forward.

On Sep. 23, Hong Kong eliminated mandatory hotel quarantines and now requires a three-day observation period for those arriving from abroad.

But despite putting in place this “0+3” system for international arrivals, people crossing the border into mainland China still have to serve a week of isolation in a hotel.

The measures look to be maintained due to the increase in imported infections and variants that have emerged in recent weeks.

The former British colony reported 407 imported cases on Monday, the highest figure since the pandemic emerged.

The restrictions have caused Singapore to overtake Hong Kong as Asia’s main financial hub and drop to third in the world, according to the latest report by the Global Financial Centers Index, which places New York and London in the top positions.

What had been until now the third global financial hub and the first in Asia, Hong Kong has fallen to fourth place in the latest Index, which attributes its decision to the effects of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy in the former British colony, and the resulting exodus of talent.

The Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen remain among the top 10 positions despite the strict anti-Covid measures that Beijing still imposes within the country, effectively isolating it from the rest of the world. EFE


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