Passengers wearing facemasks walk with their suitcase at Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area on Feb 8, 2020. (PHILIP FONG / AFP)
HONG KONG – Northbound travelers from Hong Kong planning to cross the boundary via the Shenzhen Bay Control Point are required to present proof of booking confirmation for undergoing the special nucleic acid test starting Friday.
The travelers can book their COVID-19 tests at the control point through an online booking system, which was launched at 0.00am on Thursday and has been operating smoothly, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a press release.
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The system aims to prevent long queues and hours-long waits at the border checkpoint by large crowds, which resulted from a recent increase in the number of places for quarantine hotels in Shenzhen for visitors.
Currently, there are still ample testing time slots available for online reservation, according to the government.
As of 8 pm on Thursday, 51.4, 59.7 and 66.1 percent of the testing service time slots were available for July 15, 16 and 17 respectively.
The government will keep monitoring the cross-boundary passenger flow closely and expand the testing capacity and waiting area at appropriate juncture with a view to streamlining the clearance procedures.
“The special nucleic acid testing service and time slots for booking at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point are sufficient to meet the overall number of daily cross-boundary passengers,” reads the government statement.
After obtaining a reservation at a Shenzhen quarantine hotel, travelers can reserve through the online booking system a time slot in the coming six days for the test. Each testing session is 30 minutes. The system will require them to input their name, identification document number and reservation number of the Shenzhen quarantine hotel.
They can only take the special nucleic acid test upon presentation of the SMS or a screen capture of the booking confirmation to the on-site staff.
The government will expand the testing capacity and waiting area at appropriate juncture with a view to streamlining the clearance procedures, according to the release.
On Thursday, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said the city will enhance COVID-19 testing measures at the Shenzhen Bay Port, requiring departing passengers who test positive will be issued an isolation order immediately and sent to the Penny's Bay community isolation facilitity.
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“Departing passengers must obtain a negative result to carry on with their journey. Failing that, they will go to a community isolation facility,” she said at a regular COVID-19 briefing.
Travelers who tested positive were earlier allowed to return home, taking point-to-point transport, before they were issued isolation orders.