Hong Kong unveiled a detailed plan on Thursday to gradually reopen its border with mainland China, mapping its exit from three years of tough restrictions that have dealt a severe blow to the city’s tourism and businesses.
The government said the initial phase of quarantine-free travel would begin on Sunday, and here the Post breaks down the essential information you need to know before travelling.
Both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments will each launch an online booking system on Thursday. Hongkongers heading north will need to register with the local government on a first-come, first-served basis, while mainlanders heading to the city are required to secure a slot via the Shenzhen system.
Each applicant can make a booking for a maximum of three companions via the Hong Kong system. Slots eight weeks away will be up for grabs.
Again, you are only required to book if you are travelling out of your place of domicile into either Hong Kong or the mainland. Booking is not required if you are simply returning home.
For travellers from both sides, they will have to obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction test result within 48 hours before departure and register it online.
Hong Kong has 85 testing centres and stations across the city to provide tests at HK$150.
Quarantine is no longer required for those entering the mainland, nor will there be any on-arrival Covid-19 tests. But if you declare or display symptoms – such as fever – at the border, you will be required to take an on-site RAT. If you test positive, you can still enter the mainland and may be required to isolate.
For travellers who contract Covid-19 upon arrival in Hong Kong, they can seek treatments at private hospitals – which have stocked up on the two oral Covid drugs, Paxlovid and Molnupiravir – at their own cost.
If they go to the public hospitals, they will have to pay the full fee.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has yet to give a straight answer, saying it depends on the situation after the first phase and discussions with authorities in Shenzhen and Guangdong province. But he has not ruled out increasing the daily quota even within the next two months.