Mainland-HK reopening quota expected to reach 1,000 per day amid Omicron challenges, may expand further
Published: Dec 03, 2021 12:25 PM
A passenger enters south China's Hong Kong from Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province on Sept. 15, 2021. A travel scheme, which allows non-Hong Kong residents from the mainland and the Macao Special Administrative Region to be exempted from the compulsory quarantine upon arrival, took effect on Wednesday.Photo: Xinhua

A passenger enters south China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province on Sept. 15, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

The long-awaited resumption of quarantine-free travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has entered the final implementation process with a 1,000-person quota to be granted daily.

The quota is expected to expand to 5,000 daily around the Spring Festival that falls on February 1, 2022, Hong Kong media quoted SAR government sources as saying.

The quota is consistent with what the Global Times learned from local experts earlier. 

There will be a circuit-breaker mechanism for the reopening. The standard won't be as strict as zero cases in Hong Kong but will depend on whether there is community transmission. If there are only sporadic cases without clusters of infections at the community level, the reopening won't be interrupted. 

As part of the preparation for the reopening, the SAR announced its health code system which will start real-name registration on December 10. Residents from the HKSAR going to South China's Guangdong Province or the Macao SAR can convert their COVID-19 test results saved in the Hong Kong health code to the code systems used at their destinations, media reported.

The reopening has been proceeding smoothly despite challenges from a new and more contagious coronavirus variant -- Omicron. The virus variant has been detected among several overseas arrivals to Hong Kong but experts believe that it will not affect the reopening as long as the HKSAR can effectively carry out its control measures. 

The Omicron variant sounded the alarm for many countries and regions worldwide. At least five states in the US have detected the variant and community contagion already occurred, while Japan among some other countries have tightened their border control policies. 

Global Times