Shenzhen ports ramping up preparation for border reopening with HK
Published: Jan 07, 2023 06:48 PM
Photo: Zhao Juecheng/GT

Photo: Zhao Juecheng/GT

In preparation for border reopening with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) since January 8, ports in neighboring Shenzhen are ramping up efforts in recent days, including conducting drills, examining equipment, and decorating ports with red lanterns, as well as flowers to welcome influx of passengers from Hong Kong, after three years closure due to COVID-19 control measures.

The command office of Futian in Shenzhen was reopened on Saturday. Police officers have held drills over recent days to familiarize themselves with border crossing procedures for passengers.

Futian was among the four ports that were closed three years ago. It was given a quota of 35,000 people that can travel from Shenzhen to Hong Kong per day via the Futian port after border reopened.

On Friday, officers in Futian practiced dealing with emergencies, including detecting smugglers. A new medical stand was set up at the port, to transfer people with fever symptoms and other diseases to nearby hospitals.

Workers decorated buildings and trees at the Futian port and Wenjindu port with red lanterns and flowers as a welcoming sign for arrivals from Hong Kong.

Similar preparation drills were held at Wenjindu port. An officer told the Global Times that they were practicing checking of nucleic acid test results and managing border crossing appointments for arrivals and departures.

Prospective travelers in both Shenzhen and Hong Kong must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of arrival. In anticipation of making the journey, larger groups of people were lining up in Shenzhen's test points than usual. A test point in Shenzhen's Futian district saw a threefold increase in people asking for tests, after the news of border reopening with Hong Kong was announced on Thursday, a medical staff told the Global Times.

Residents in Shenzhen are eager to embrace the reopening. A restaurant owner surnamed Li near Futian port told the Global Times that before the pandemic, his restaurant had been flooded with visitors who travelled across border. "I hope the reopening will help my business pick up soon. When the daily quota of passengers is scrapped, my business can go back to pre-pandemic level I believe," Li said.

Hong Kong government said on Saturday afternoon that more than 410,000 people have already made appointments to travel to the mainland, two days after the news of border reopening was announced, media reported.

When briefing on details of border reopening on Thursday, HKSAR's chief executive John Lee said that from Sunday, up to 50,000 Hong Kong people can register online to cross the border daily at three land checkpoints.

Another estimated 10,000 people will be able to enter the mainland by sea, air or bridges, he told a news conference.

A similar number will be allowed to travel from the mainland to Hong Kong with mandatory quarantine being scrapped.