(Xinhua/Lo Ping Fai)

Hong Kong already in discussions to ease travel restrictions with Macau

Hong Kong authorities indicated today (Monday) that they have started talks on easing travel rules to mainland China and Macau, the South China Morning Post reported.

Macau authorities had previously expressed that only after the neighbouring SAR reported at least 14 consecutive days without local cases could they initiate negotiations on the possible easing of travel requirements, a goal Hong Kong achieved precisely today.

This comes as Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated that mandatory quarantine will be halved to seven days for people who test negative for the virus and positive for antibodies in phases starting from June 30.

The first phase would cover Hong Kong residents who have been vaccinated with two doses and that can go to a recognised lab or private hospital to undergo a serology test to prove they are positive for antibodies.

The second phase targeting non-residents who would need to take an antibody test upon arrival could possibly start within a month.

Currently, non-Hong Kong residents can enter Hong Kong only if they are from low-risk countries like Australia and New Zealand.

The Hong Kong government will also possibly ease some social-distancing restrictions in venues such as restaurants, bars and pubs, and events ranging from religious gatherings and wedding ceremonies to local tours.

About 28.5 per cent of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million population have so far received their first vaccine jab, a similar rate to Macau.