The border between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong will gradually reopen from Sunday with a maximum of 60,000 people in Hong Kong able to enter the mainland everyday through land, sea and air ports, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region(HKSAR) government announced on Thursday.
Seven border checkpoints will stay open in the first stage of border reopening, including three ports - Shenzhen Bay Port, Hong Kong Airport, and the Hong Kong Port connecting to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge - which are already operating, as well as four other checkpoints - land crossings at Lok Ma Chau Station and Man Kam To, and sea entry points at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal and China Ferry Terminal, HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu confirmed during a briefing.
Travelers can move through the sea and air ports, as well as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge without limitation as long as they hold the tickets. Authorities have imposed a daily quota of 50,000 visitors travelling from Hong Kong to the mainland via the three land crossings at Shenzhen Bay Port, Lok Ma Chau Station and Man Kam To. Similarly, up to 50,000 people in the mainland will be able to enter Hong Kong via these land ports each day.
Bookings for travel to and from the Chinese mainland can be made online via a website which has gone live at 6pm on Thursday and residents can choose the travel time and their preferred land port, Director of Information Technology Services Alan Wong Chi-kong said during the briefing.
Hong Kong residents returning to the city from the mainland, and mainland residents in Hong Kong travelling north, will be exempt from the daily quotas, Lee added.
As for nearly 27,000 students who travel across the border for schooling, the HKSAR government said they can begin entering Hong Kong for school after the Spring Festival and will not need to book online to cross the border.
According to Lam Sai-hung, HKSAR Secretary for Transport and Logistics, the cross-border high -speed train will resume operation no later than January 15 and shipping companies will resume routes from the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal to Shekou Port in Shenzhen and from China Ferry Terminal to Fuyong Port in Shenzhen.
Lee said both visitors travelling to the mainland or entering Hong Kong are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours.
A high-speed railway connecting the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong started a trial run on January 3rd. Ticket sales will start three days before the official date fixed for reopening, and the resumption of rail service will be realized in three stages, with short-haul journeys to be restored first, the Global Times learned.
The railway service will be resumed in three stages, with the first stage starting with short trips to cities including Shenzhen and Guangzhou, then medium-distance journeys like to Wuhan and Changsha, and then long-haul services to cities such as Beijing.