It’ll take some time to re-open mainland border: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Thursday it’ll be “a rather lengthy process” for quarantine-free travel to happen between the SAR and the mainland.

At a Legislative Council question-and-answer session on the policy address, she said the issue is at the top of her government’s agenda.

DAB lawmaker Gary Chan asked the chief executive what conditions the central government has laid down for the travel resumption, and whether adopting the mainland’s health code system is one of them.

Lam responded by saying her position was that the SAR government would do its best to meet any requirements set by mainland authorities.

The CE said it’s not up to her to give a timeline for the border re-opening, or when a second meeting between experts and officials from the SAR and the mainland would be held to discuss the issue, saying both decisions are up to the central authorities.

“We can’t really give you a timetable [on the re-opening] for now. It depends on the prevention and control measures of the central government, and the risks that may arise from travel resumption,” she said.

“How do we stop the risks, that is the circuit-breaker mechanism. So you can look at the case of Macau, as soon as they have [Covid] cases, then all travel would have to stop.”

Lam said there would be a travel quota initially, and business people and those travelling on compassionate grounds will have priority to go north first.