Read the Chinese version

HKSAR CE Carrie Lam said in order to resume some quarantine-free travel to the mainland, Hong Kong must ensure that its anti-COVID-19 practices are more in line with mainland practices.

At the moment, the Hong Kong SAR government’s overarching strategy in reopening the borders is to “work very hard to resume some mainland travel, especially for business people,” said CE Carrie Lam.

These Comments were made by the CE in a media session prior to the October 26th Executive Board meeting, responding to concerns that cross-border restrictions are making many foreign business leaders, including those in the financial sector, suspicious that Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center is not at risk.

She said this was a “very difficult topic,” she said, the government was caught in a dilemma such as: “In order to resume some quarantine-free trips to the mainland, we need to make sure our anti-COVID-19 Practices more in line with mainland practices. “This, she said, will give mainland authorities confidence to allow Hong Kong people to enter the mainland without being subject to the 14-day plus 7-day quarantine.

Therefore, the focus for Hong Kong is on controlling the import of possible cases. “If Hong Kong were to relax border controls for people arriving from overseas or do what other countries have done – so-called living with the COVID-19 virus – the chances of resuming travel to the mainland will be reduced,” CE Lam clarified.

This must be seen against the background that Hong Kong’s main advantage is that it is the gateway to mainland China.

“If Hong Kong-based companies cannot make their way to the mainland, I believe that it will greatly reduce Hong Kong’s attractiveness as an international business center and an international financial center.”

She gave an insight into the current border strategy: “At the moment, the strategy of the Hong Kong SAR government is to try very hard to resume some mainland trips, especially for business people.”

If the global situation stabilizes in the future, i.e. if confirmed cases in the countries where people want to come to Hong Kong begin to decline, she adds that they come from the list of countries in Group A (those of the 21 day quarantine) and instead in Group B (that’s a 14-day quarantine after full vaccination) or, better yet, they could come down to Group C (with only seven days of quarantine).

“But the current situation is that we have not yet reached this stage, be it locally, on the mainland or globally,” concluded CE.

Border updates from across the region:

Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island to welcome vaccinated tourists from November 20, 2021
Langkawi controls international tourism bubble from November 15, 2021: SOPs to be observed
Visitors from 46 countries / areas can fly quarantine-free to Thailand from November 1, 2021

Photo / Video coverage of the Chief Executive’s remarks at the media meeting

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