HK discussing cross-border resumption arrangements with Macau, mainland authorities

Hong Kong Secretary for Transport and Housing, Frank Chen, said today (Wednesday) that if the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in the SAR decreases to low double-digit or single-digit numbers, a possible customs clearance arrangement could be reached for travel to Macau and Mainland China authorities, the HK Economic Times reported.

Currently, anyone coming from Hong Kong is required to provide a negative nucleic acid test results and has to complete a 21-say quarantine in designated hotels and seven days of health self-management.

Hong Kong is currently facing a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases with residents of more than 20 coronavirus-hit buildings in Sham Shui Po, Jordan and Tin Shui Wai placed in targetted lockdowns, and 25 new cases reported yesterday.

Chen revealed today that the government has been communicating with relevant mainland and Macau authorities on customs clearance arrangements and that as more people get vaccinated, the easier it would be to reach a deal.

However, he admitted that reaching single-digit daily new cases is a goal that would not be achieved in short term.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said yesterday that Fosun Pharma-BioNTech vaccine procured by the Hong Kong government is set to arrive in the city by the end of this month, with inoculation “able to start almost immediately”.  

Hong Kong has purchased 22.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Sinovac, Fosun Pharma and BioNtec, as well as AstraZeneca, 7.5 million from each firm.

Speaking at the Legislative Council, Secretary Chen stated that authorities were aware of the difficulties faced by the cross-border passenger transport industry under the pandemic, and will consider prioritising cross-border drivers for vaccination to ensure the safety of cross-border personnel.