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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Closed loop to open at end of Two Sessions

Closed loop to open at end of Two Sessions

Hong Kong delegates attending the Two Sessions meetings in Beijing next month will continue to undergo a "closed-loop" arrangement despite the full border reopening, but they will be allowed to stay behind afterward for the first time since 2020, sources said.
The meetings of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and National People's Congress have been compressed to last for a week after the pandemic broke out in December 2019.

The CPPCC meeting, scheduled to begin on March 4, will end on March 11.

It is understood that CPPCC members have been notified to take a chartered direct flight from to Beijing on March 2. They will attend a preparatory meeting the next day ahead of the opening ceremony.

That means the Hong Kong advisers are no longer required to observe a week of quarantine in Shenzhen before going to Beijing, an arrangement that was adopted last spring as Hong Kong battled its fifth local wave triggered by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

But it is unknown whether delegates will still be required to undergo PCR tests before they board the flight to the capital.

The "closed-loop" arrangement during the eight-day meeting means CPPCC delegates are banned from leaving the meeting venue and hotels as they wish and can only travel to and from the two places in designated coaches.

They also have to bring along daily necessities and work supplies, as they will not be allowed to go out for errands.

A CPPCC member said that although curbs have been largely lifted in the mainland, keeping stricter policies for the Two Sessions is reasonable as the events are attended by many political heavyweights.

"We've got used to quarantine over the past few years. Seven days of closed-loop management is a piece of cake," he said.

Before the pandemic, many Two Sessions delegates stayed behind to take care of businesses. But they had been advised against it in the past three years.

But they are allowed to stay behind for however long and whatever purpose they desire this year.

Last month, around 180 Hong Kong politicians, including many rookies, were appointed as CPPCC members. It is understood a seminar will be held in Shenzhen by the end of this month to brief them on its history and their responsibilities.

The NPC meeting will kick off on March 5.

Sources said central government liaison office deputy director Yin Zonghua met on Monday with new NPC delegates - elected in December - to brief them on their new role.
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