The Hong Kong government was under increasing pressure to open the border and relax travel restrictions with mainland China, as the city has witnessed a drop in the rate of COVID-19 cases, a media report said on Monday. Also Read - More Coronaviruses Looming Large, Warns China's 'Bat Woman'
Some politicians have called for an exemption for business travellers, despite the Shenzhen government announcing that from Tuesday all travellers to the Chinese metropolis, which neighbours Hong Kong, would have to stay at a designated quarantine centre for 14 days for medical observation, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper report said. Also Read - China's COVID-19 Cases Fall Below 1,000 For First time
Previously, the two-week quarantine period could take place at home. Also Read - Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Hong Kong Bans Foreign Travellers
Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the city’s government could consider lifting the travel restrictions gradually, allowing those who need to cross the border frequently, for business or family visits, exemptions from the two-week quarantine.
He called on officials to discuss with mainland authorities ways to relax the restrictions.
“Don’t assume that if Hong Kong opens the border, the mainland will do the same,” the SCMP reported quoted Liu as saying.
“From the new measure in Shenzhen. I think both sides need to communicate and take measures to open up gradually.”
A government source told the SCMP that the administration had been in talks with its mainland counterparts for some time on the border measures.
Executive Council member Jeffrey Lam also said the government should consider gradually relaxing the travel restrictions for business travellers from the mainland.
He suggested those people could enter Hong Kong without serving the 14 days of mandatory quarantine if they tested negative for the virus.
Hong Kong recorded no new COVID-19 cases for the third time in a week on Sunday, leaving the total number of infections in the city at 1,037.