China to fully resume travel with Hong Kong, Macau on Feb 6

By Reuters   February 2, 2023 | 09:46 pm PT
China to fully resume travel with Hong Kong, Macau on Feb 6
People line up at a government office for entry and exit matters which provides services including making or renewing passports or permits to go to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, after China reopened borders, in Beijing, China, January 9, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Yew Lun Tian
China said on Friday that cross-border travel between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau would fully resume from Monday, dropping existing quotas and scrapping a mandatory Covid-19 test before traveling.

Group tours between China and its two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau will resume, while the number of customs checkpoints open will return to pre-pandemic levels, China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said on its website.

Even after China reopened its borders to the world on January 8, a quota system and Covid-19 testing requirement remained for travellers between the mainland and Hong Kong.

The three border checkpoints that have not yet reopened will do so from Monday, Hong Kong's leader John Lee said at a press conference on Friday.

Hong Kong will also scrap a Covid-19 vaccination requirement to enter Hong Kong for all arrivals, including non-Hong Kong residents, Lee added.

Searches on Chinese travel website Qunar for round-trip air tickets to and from Hong Kong and the mainland increased sevenfold on Friday after China's announcement, data from state media China Transportation News showed.

China's announcement came a day after Hong Kong launched a promotion campaign, including 500,000 free flights to woo back visitors, businesses and investors to the financial hub after more than three years of tough Covid-19 curbs.

Hong Kong was largely sealed off behind closed borders for much of the past three years in a bid to ward off Covid-19, with mandatory quarantine of up to three weeks for people arriving, along with intensive testing and screening.

The city closely followed China's zero-Covid policy until the middle of 2022, when it began to gradually unwind its rules.

Hong Kong dropped most of its remaining Covid-19 rules last December, but mask-wearing remains mandatory unless exercising, and students must take daily antigen rapid tests.

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