Amid Covid-19 Flare-Up, Hong Kong Visitors Face New Mainland Travel Restrictions
Travelers crossing the border from Hong Kong into South China’s Guangdong province must now produce negative Covid-19 test results, as the city grapples with a third wave of coronavirus infections, local authorities said.
Two Chinese mainland cities on the border between the regions, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, each issued statements (link in Chinese) just before midnight Friday, requiring incoming visitors from Hong Kong to provide recognized negative Covid-19 nucleic acid test results that were taken within 72 hours before arrival. The visitors must also undergo a 14-day medical quarantine.
The stricter policy came after Hong Kong’s daily new Covid-19 caseload soared to a record high of 67 on Thursday, including 63 local infections, more than half of which were untraceable. Hong Kong has so far seen 299 local infections in nursing homes and restaurants, as well as among taxi drivers, amid the latest flare-up that began earlier this month.
In its own statement, the Hong Kong government also warned its residents about the change, and “expressed understanding” about the heightened border restrictions since people crossing the border amid the Covid-19 flare-up have “unduly overburdened the Mainland boundary control points and health quarantine facilities.”
People entering Guangdong from Hong Kong must hold Covid-19 test certificates issued by one of the 15 testing institutions recognized by the Hong Kong government, the statement said. The results will only be considered valid for 72 hours from the time that samples are collected.
Previously, people traveling from Hong Kong to Guangdong only needed to be quarantined for 14 days, but did not have to prove they had tested negative for Covid-19.
According to a Hong Kong government spokesman, people refused entry into Guangdong will still need to be quarantined for 14 days in Hong Kong when they reenter the city. “Members of the public should pay extra attention to avoid such a situation,” he said.
The policy will exempt cross-boundary drivers and students, essential officials and business travelers who have received prior approval from Guangdong authorities, according to the Hong Kong government statement.
The governments of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau had been moving forward on a system of mutual recognition for health codes and mutual exemption of quarantine since June, in a bid to “facilitate cross-boundary flow of people between the three places amid the epidemic.” However, the scheme was disrupted by this month’s flare-up in Hong Kong.
The city has been plagued by a new wave of coronavirus infections after it relaxed its social distancing rules earlier this month. The government on Wednesday reimposed the measures, closing down gyms and other venues for seven days, limiting public gatherings, banning dine-in services at restaurants at dinner time and requiring people to wear masks on public transportation.
Contact editor Michael Bellart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- MOST POPULAR