Hong Kong Coronavirus: Potential Guangdong Outbreak Threatens to Disrupt Quarantine-Free Travel to Mainland China


“So far, everyone who has taken care of the case has tested negative. The risk of spread is therefore not high.

“The two cases in Dongguan are more worrying because they have many close contacts. We have found and contacted most of them. They have already been sent to centralized quarantine facilities. We are now awaiting the results of the tests of these close contacts. “

Asked how the situation might affect mainland Hong Kong people who plan to vote Sunday in the Legislative Council elections at polling stations at three border checkpoints, the source said, “As for Hong Kong people living in Guangdong , they will have to follow the lockdown and quarantine provisions.

Non-quarantine trips under the border reopening program – initially limited to Guangdong – were initially due to be launched later this month.

Hong Kong Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu and three ministers heading the health, safety and IT offices also met with their Guangdong counterparts in Shenzhen on Tuesday to further refine logistical details. of the reopening, according to general manager Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

But the mainland source said the Guangdong authorities were monitoring the latest developments “very carefully” as they could “affect the process of opening the borders.”

“We’re still working on the original schedule, which is about a week. But it always depends on the overall situation, ”the source said.

“If there is no cluster epidemic, the opening of borders and border voting arrangements will experience little disruption. If there is a cluster outbreak, it will make sense to open the border after containing it. “

The Dongguan Pandemic Prevention and Control Bureau said the two asymptomatic patients landed at Shenzhen Baoan Airport on December 4 before returning to Dalang City, where emergency measures which containment were imposed.

Ahead of Covid-19 testing on Monday, the couple visited places such as a wet market, karaoke lounge and restaurants.

The mainland official said another 65 passengers were on the same flight from Xian to Shenzhen as the duo. Of these, 42 remained in Shenzhen after they landed.

A total of 190 cases were reported in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan during the latest outbreak, which began on May 21.

A gradual reopening of the border was scheduled for December. Photo: KY Cheng

Authorities in Dongguan have activated an emergency response to the latest cases, with all residents of the locked Dalang town required to get tested for Covid-19.

All Shenzhen airport passengers who have traveled to Dongguan are also expected to present a negative Covid-19 test result obtained within 48 hours before boarding a plane, starting Tuesday morning.

Across the continent, authorities confirmed 51 new local cases on Monday.

Lam said 440,000 residents have signed up for the city’s new health code – a mechanism for indicating Covid-19 risk status required by mainland authorities as a prerequisite for the travel program – since opening registrations on Friday, 150,000 having already activated their accounts.

But there was no need to rush to register, she said, as the quota mechanism would initially prioritize those with business or other urgent needs.

Civilian groups helping low-income residents with relatives on the mainland this week urged the government to reserve half of the available slots for average families.

Lam said: “Those who have [an urgent] need of course should fight [to be included in the] quota. But those without such needs, such as people who wish to travel for leisure, should first let those with urgent needs be part of the quota. “

It is not yet clear how many people will be able to cross the border each day under the new plan.

Hong Kong also confirmed its eighth imported case of Omicron on Tuesday, involving a 50-year-old man who visited Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya. The man, who was among two confirmed cases on Monday, tested positive during quarantine at the government facility in Penny’s Bay.

The city also confirmed five new imported cases of Covid-19, including a domestic helper from the Philippines who was likely to be a new positive case. The cases brought the city’s number of confirmed infections to 12,495, with 213 related deaths.

A source said it was unlikely that a plan to move Britain to the higher-risk category, with increased quarantine measures for arriving residents, would be announced on Tuesday, as discussions about putting it implementation were still in progress.


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