About 390,000 citizens have made a reservation for cross-border travel through government’s online system and the 50,000 daily quotas have yet to run out, Hong Kong’s no.2 leader said, noting that the quotas offered are sufficient to deal with the demand.
Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki said on Saturday that authorities must reopen the border orderly so that citizens won’t all flock to mainland at once.
“At this point I can’t say on which day will the daily quote increase and by how many. It depends on the actual circumstances and we must also test all the transportations beforehand,” Chan told a radio program.
“We will proceed step by step and aim to increase the quote as soon as possible so that cross-border travel can become more convenient. I believe it won’t be long until our border points fully reopen.”
He pointed to the importance of transportations and training for workers at border checkpoints as well, as he stressed that sufficient quotas and orderly arrangements are two conditions required for full border reopening.
Chan noted that the city’s Covid
testing capacity stands at around 120,000 a day, and there are about 100,000 testing quotas available for the next three days.
He said he understands citizens’ concerns that Covid
infection may surge after reopening the border, but believed the healthcare system won’t be overwhelmed thanks to Hong Kong’s vaccination coverage and the high accuracy of PCR testing.
Chan also said cross-border students will be able to go to school in Hong Kong after the Chinese New Year holidays. Authorities are still mulling with mainland on introducing a special passage for these students and replacing the PCR test requirement with the rapid antigen test, Chan added.