| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Hong Kong raises prospect of Shenzhen border easing by Aug 4

On Monday, Hong Kong’s new health secretary said he hoped the border with Shenzhen will reopen before August 4, a move that would represent a dramatic easing of China’s stringent border restrictions, eliciting mixed reactions on Chinese social media.

Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau expressed optimism in a blog post on Hong Kong’s Health Bureau website that families separated by the border between Hong Kong and mainland China may reconnect in time for the “Qixi” Festival, China’s version of Valentine’s Day, which will be commemorated this year on August 4.

While this is not the first time a Hong Kong official has hinted at a potential border reopening, Lo’s statement comes after China halved the quarantine time for inbound travelers last week, a major easing of COVID-19 curbs that have deterred travel to China for 2-1/2 years, including from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong on Monday reported 1,645 local coronavirus infections, and 196 imported infections.

  • Reuters