The first batch of visitors from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region cross to the Chiense mainland at Futian port in Shenzhen on Jan 8, 2022. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong's four border control points at Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To, the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan and China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui saw thousands of travellers converging in the early morning of Sunday to cross over to the mainland without the need to quarantine for the first time in three years.
Thousands were already waiting when the Lok Ma Chau point opened for service at 6:30 am and when the first batch of visitors from mainland crossed over to Hong Kong at Futian Port in Shenzhen, the two-way flow had firmly established that three years of separation was definitely a thing of the past now.
The passengers will not be subject to quarantine, but need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours
The Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point opened on Sunday for the first time since February 2020.
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Starting Sunday, 60,000 people a day will be allowed to travel each way between Hong Kong and the mainland via seven border ports.
The passengers will not be subject to quarantine, but need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours.
After inspecting the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point Sunday morning, John Lee Ka-chiu, chief executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said the first day of the border reopening was smooth, safe and orderly.
The HKSAR government has said a daily quota of 60,000 Hong Kong residents are allowed to enter the mainland, in which 50,000 of them are allocated at the three land control points – Shenzhen Bay, Man Kam To and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line. The remaining 10,000 quota is available through ferry terminals, the Hong Kong International Airport and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
Wang Pengjun, a Shanghai resident working in Hong Kong, did not return to the mainland for nearly three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He took the first metro train to Lok Ma Chau Station early Sunday morning, looking forward to getting reunited with his family.
Wang appreciated the efforts made by the HKSAR government and the mainland authorities, which he said fulfilled people's long-awaited wishes.
A daily quota of 50,000 at the three land control points is also applied to mainland residents heading to Hong Kong. Shenzhen's Shekou port and Fuyong Ferry Terminal are controlled through ticketing mechanism, while land control points arrange the number of daily outbound passengers through the reservation system.
Fung, who only gave his surname, a Hong Kong resident working in Shenzhen, took a taxi to the Futian Control Point and waited in line to cross the border. He said he was excited and would stay longer in Hong Kong this time as he had not seen his family for nearly three years.
Shenzhen and Hong Kong will review the first phase of border reopening in a week. On the basis of consensus reached by both sides, arrangement of the second phase will be announced.
The first batch of visitors from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region cross to the Chinese mainland at Futian port in Shenzhen on Jan 8, 2022. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
From 9 am on Friday, mainland residents were able to make reservations for entering Hong Kong through an online booking system operated by the Shenzhen authorities. Each reservation allowed for up to four travellers.
READ MORE: Number of visitors to Hong Kong surges 22%
Separately at 6 pm on Thursday, Hong Kong opened its booking system for residents entering the mainland.
With Xinhua inputs