Beijing, Jan 6 (EFE).- More than 286,000 Hong Kong residents had made bookings by Friday to be able to travel to China on Jan 8, less than 24 hours after authorities announced the reopening of border posts.
Hong Kong government’s Information Technology Director Huang Zhiguang said in a radio program that more than 286,000 people had made arrangements to travel to the mainland, adding that many border posts have reached their maximum reservation limit.
On Thursday afternoon, there was huge user traffic on the platform to make reservations soon after it was launched, forcing people to wait in order to access the system, Huang said, according to a statement published by state news agency Xinhua,
The official reminded the citizens that they must carry the appointment certificate, along with a negative PCR test taken not more than 48 hours before crossing the border.
China and Hong Kong announced Thursday that they will reopen borders posts that separate mainland China from the former British colony on Sunday, Jan 8.
The new measures include the resumption of issuing entry and exit permits to people who want to travel to either side of the border.
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.
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China, which is contemplating more relaxed controls, marking the end of the ‘zero-COVID’ policy in practice, as it was withdrawn by the authorities following protests.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