Some Shenzhen arrivals to isolate in other cities

Top News | Mandy Zheng 22 Jan 2021

Some Hongkongers entering the mainland through the Shenzhen Bay Port will be sent to four other Guangdong cities for a 14-day quarantine spell, mainland authorities have announced ahead of the Lunar New Year influx.

To ease the pressure on Shenzhen's quarantine facilities, some Hong Kong visitors will be sent directly from Shenzhen Bay Port to Dongguan, Huizhou, Shanwei or Zhongshan, said Guangdong's Department of Commerce deputy director-general Fu Yongge.

Guangdong authorities earlier introduced a cap on travelers arriving from Hong Kong through Shenzhen Bay at 2,000 people per day, effective from January 5.

A cap of 200 incoming visitors per day was imposed at the Zhuhai Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the daily number of international flights landing in Guangzhou and Shenzhen was reduced to 62, carrying 1,800 passengers. Guangdong now sees roughly 4,000 arrivals per day, Fu said.

"By controlling the total number of incoming visitors, we have a clear idea about the situation and can guarantee safety and order at boundary points," he added.

Fu said authorities have been strictly arranging travelers to get tested and quarantined while preventing them from having contact with the community.

To enter Guangdong, Hongkongers are required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken in the past 24 hours at entry points and then undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine - fees to be paid by themselves - and a seven-day isolation at home.

They also need to take tests on the seventh, 14th and 21st days after their arrival.

"For those planning to come to Guangdong, we hope you can plan your Lunar New Year holiday schedule reasonably, based on the development of the pandemic and your personal needs," Fu said.

Various local governments in the mainland launched campaigns and money incentives to discourage people from returning to their hometowns for the holiday as China fought small-scale outbreaks in Hebei, Heilongjiang and Jilin.

In Hong Kong, lawmakers challenged the SAR government for adopting double standards as it chose to revive the Lunar New Year flower markets but kept a ban on other businesses - including beauty parlors and entertainment venues - from operation.

Ma Fung-kwok of the sports, performing arts, culture and publication sector, said many in the film industry have been in "extreme pain" as cinemas have been shut for over 160 days.

He said sports-related businesses have also complained about the closure of public facilities, which has happened multiple times during the pandemic.

"The main issue is that they can't understand why the government chose to go on with the flower market, where tens of thousands of people will wander and bargain. How is that less risky than, say, a football field with 22 players and three referees?" Ma said.

"They can only ask: do we have to choose between starving to death or dying from disease?"

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