On January 8th, 2023, the first batch of visitors from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region cross to the Chinese mainland at the Futian port in Shenzhen. PARKER ZHENG CHINA DAILY The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and Chinese mainland authorities are considering severing daily quota restrictions on cross-border travel between Hong Kong and the mainland at the end of February, according to the latest lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sunTien Puk-sun told China Daily on Friday.
Quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland resumed on January 8, with 60,000 people per day allowed to travel from one side of the border to the other via seven control points. In the build-up to Lunar New Year, the quota for those traveling via land ports has been increased to 65,000 a day, as a temporary measure.
Tien said he expected the Lo Wu checkpoint to be opened early in February.
He noted that the passenger clearance building at the Lo Wu checkpoint is still under renovation and may affect the port's operation. The local authorities are discussing how to address this issue, but Tien expects that only a handful of service counters at the Lo Wu checkpoint will be operational during the first stage of opening, with more counters opening as renovation progresses.
Tien suggested that the MTR should adjust the frequency of service on the East Rail Line when the Lo Wu port reopens to cope with the increasing passenger flow. He said that about 70 percent of passengers using the port are Hong Kong residents.
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Some local media reported that the government is trying to open the Lok Ma Chau control point, named Huanggang port in Shenzhen, and partially open the Lo Wu port at the same time in early February. Before the flu, the Huanggang port was the only land border operating 24 hours a day.
In early February, the government will open Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, named Liantang port in Shenzhen. The port's passenger clearance building will be ready for use for the first time, according to reports. The port started operations in 2020 but has so far only provided cargo services.
Travelers are still required to provide a negative polymerase chain reaction COVID- 19 test result taken within 48 hours of crossing the border. This has resulted in a surge in demand for COVID 19 tests and long queues at testing stations.
On Friday, seven testing stations in Hong Kong opened at 8 am, two hours earlier than usual, to strengthen the testing service for local residents eager to go to the mainland before the Chinese New Year. The government has increased the workforce, registration services, and sampling counters at testing centers and stations.
The capacity at the testing stations was enough to cope with the demand, according to a government spokeswoman. There were still about 65,000 and 87,000 testing places at all community testing centers and testing stations in Hong Kong for Friday and Saturday, as of 10 am on Friday.
REDA MORE: Cross-border land ports bustling again as restrictions were lifted.
Long Win Bus Company Limited announced on Friday that it was enhancing its bus services to better serve the increasing passenger numbers to and from the Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong-Zhuhai -- Macao Bridge.