Hong Kong in talks with mainland China to resume quarantine-free cross-border travel by year-end.
Hong Kong has been holding talks to resume quarantine-free travel to and from mainland China in a “gradual and orderly manner,” with media reports saying the full reopening could start as early as next month.
The development was announced separately by the Hong Kong government and Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) on Thursday evening.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said opening the border with mainland China was a higher priority than opening Hong Kong up internationally.
Asked whether the mainland border would reopen by year-end, the South China Morning Post quoted her as saying: “I hope very much so. But I just can’t promise it. We are still in discussion.”
Should quarantine travel with the mainland prove successful, talks to open to Macau are also on the cards, via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. This would mark the first three-way reopening for travellers since lockdowns in early 2020.
The end goal is to open to global markets by June 2022, said Lam Ching-choi, a member of Lam's advisory Executive Council, in a recent Bloomberg interview. The next few months will serve to complete opening negotiations with China, and to increase vaccination rates among Hong Kong's elderly.
Source: Hong Kong Free Press