Reopening the borders with mainland remains on hold

Top News | Eunice Lam 27 Sep 2021

No conclusion was made on border reopening at yesterday's meeting in Shenzhen between top Hong Kong and mainland officials, although Chinese experts recognized the SAR's efforts in achieving zero Covid-19 infection.

Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu and Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee went to Shenzhen yesterday for the meeting.

No specific date was set on when the borders could be reopened, but both sides would further study the details and hold another meeting as soon as possible.

Meeting host Huang Liuquan, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, said the central government attached importance to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's request on reopening the border.

Representatives from the National Health Commission, Liaison Office and Guangdong provincial and Shenzhen governments were also at the meeting. Health experts included David Hui Shu-cheong of Chinese University and Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the Disease Control Bureau of the National Health Commission. They discussed the possibility and concerns in reopening borders progressively.

Both sides shared the epidemic situations, strategies and policies and examined potential risks of border reopening.

Lee expressed Hongkongers' hopes of reopening and its importance in the economy and people's livelihoods.

Lee arrived in Shenzhen after attending the Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation Chief Executive Joint Conference in Chengdu on Friday.

Secretary for Innovation and Technology Alfred Sit Wing-hang, government adviser on Covid-19 David Hui Shu-cheong and Department of Health representatives were among the delegates to Shenzhen.

Lam earlier said the central government has not mentioned any conditions for reopening the border nor required the SAR to follow the mainland by setting up a health code system.

She noted that Hong Kong has had zero local infection for over a month, a strict cross-boundary control in preventing imported cases and adequate facilities and abilities in conducting testing and quarantine.

Hong Kong yesterday reported zero local infections - the 40th consecutive day to do so.

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