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Published: 17:34, January 08, 2023 | Updated: 17:38, January 08, 2023
Resuming normal travel solved 'urgent needs' of residents
By Xi Tianqi
Published:17:34, January 08, 2023 Updated:17:38, January 08, 2023 By Xi Tianqi

The first batch of cross-boundary passengers line up at immigration counters at Lok Ma Chau Station on Jan 8, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

We’re so excited to set foot on the other side again after three years!

This is the exclamation from people traveling between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese mainland on Sunday — the first day in the initial phase of the resumption of quarantine-free travel between the two places.

The resumption of quarantine-free travel helped to solve the urgent needs of both Hong Kong and mainland residents, marking a major step toward full normalization, said people traveling between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chinese mainland on Sunday

The resumption has helped to solve the urgent needs of both Hong Kong and mainland residents, marking a major step toward full normalization, they said.

From Jan 8, 60,000 people will be allowed to travel daily each way between the HKSAR and the mainland, using seven land, air and sea boundary control points. The commuters will not be subject to quarantine, but need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours.

Lau Kit-chun, a Hong Kong doctoral student at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing on the mainland, had stayed in Guangdong province for three days in advance to ensure that he could return to the SAR on the first day of the resumption of normal travel.

Lau, who has not seen members of his family in Hong Kong for three years due to the COVID-19 restrictions, said he missed them a lot. Besides family reunion, the resumption will help him to seek internships in the city.

He described the Customs clearance process at the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line control point as “very smooth”, and was impressed by the efforts of the mainland and Hong Kong authorities to ensure a safe and orderly operation.

ALSO READ: Emotional reunion

Hong Kong resident Tsang Kam-fan went to the mainland to attend the funeral of her grandfather who passed away last week after coming down with the virus. She said the timing was abrupt and had little time to prepare for the necessary documents to apply for the entry quota on compassionate grounds. 

To ensure she could enter the mainland on Sunday, Tsang used four mobile phones to register through the online booking system launched on Thursday to secure a quota.

Another Hong Kong resident, Sandy Wong Hang-yee, has not seen her parents on the mainland for two years. Eagerly crossing the border on Sunday, Wong hailed the first phase resumption of normal travel as a big step toward full normalization.

She hopes that the clearance procedure could be simplified later as it took her and her friends plenty of time to make their online bookings and do nucleic acid tests.

READ MORE: Cross-border travel: HK lists details of testing protocol

Louis Wang Tianzi, who works at a security company in Hong Kong, had gone to the mainland on business. He said he has been waiting for normal travel to resume for a long time. A year ago, he had to undergo centralized and home quarantine for nearly a month during trips to the mainland.

Wang plans to return to Hong Kong a few days later and commute daily between the two places. He hopes that high-speed rail services and Lo Wu checkpoint could resume operations to make it more convenient for him to commute between the SAR and the mainland.


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