Coronavirus: Hong Kong leader hopeful over talks on reopening mainland China border, but experts warn against moving too fast | South China Morning Post
Coronavirus: Hong Kong leader hopeful over talks on reopening mainland China border, but experts warn against moving too fast
Hong Kong’s leader on Monday said she was waiting for “positive instructions” from Beijing on the possibility of resuming quarantine-free, cross-border travel between the city and mainland China, but sources and experts cautioned that both sides were not ready yet.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor revealed that she had submitted a report to Beijing on the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong, adding that no preconditions had been set for talks to begin on reopening the border, which has been closed for more than a year.
The city had no new coronavirus infection to report on Monday, its first day without a fresh case since June 17. A day earlier, a 50-year-old airport worker broke Hong Kong’s 33-day run of zero community infections.
In a related development, the Philippines’ top diplomat in Hong Kong, Raly Tejada, revealed on Monday that the city was considering the possibility of allowing in vaccinated Hongkongers and people with work visas from countries currently under a direct flight ban. But the plan was not finalised yet, and details still needed to be ironed out, he added.
The Philippines and Indonesia, which provide most of Hong Kong’s foreign domestic helpers, are currently among eight countries categorised as “extremely high-risk” because of the pandemic.The city’s government said Russia would join the list of very high-risk countries from Friday after the country reported a surge in cases and several arrivals were found to be carrying Covid-19 variants.Under the new arrangement, arrivals from Russia will have to quarantine for 21 days instead of 14, even if they are fully vaccinated, and must undergo four tests while in isolation, as well as a fifth on the 26th day after landing.According to Lam, talks on reopening the border with the mainland were not preconditioned on achieving any fixed targets and she stressed that negotiations could resume at any time. But residents who wanted to cross the border would have to be inoculated, she warned. “If you have been vaccinated, you are giving me more ammunition and power to resume the flow of people with the mainland,” Lam said.