Nfter the opening of the Chinese borders, tens of thousands of travelers poured into China from Hong Kong this Sunday. The first visitors from the Chinese special administrative region were already sitting in trains across the border crossings to the People’s Republic early in the morning local time. After the end of the rigorous zero-Covid policy a month ago, China abolished most entry restrictions and, above all, the last one-week forced quarantine for visitors with effect from Sunday.
From Hong Kong, however, a quota of 50,000 entries per day applies for the time being, for which visitors have to register via an online platform. After three years of extensive isolation, demand was high: 410,000 Hong Kongers have already registered for entry, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported. In the opposite direction, a limited number of 6,600 travelers from China were able to cross the Hong Kong border on Sunday. Travelers must show negative PCR tests from the last 48 hours.
The opening follows China’s abrupt change of course in early December from a zero-tolerance policy of lockdowns, mass testing and forced quarantine, which it has pursued since 2020, to full easing. Since then, a massive wave of infections has been rolling through the most populous country in the world, hitting hospitals completely unprepared. Because of the overload of the health system in China and fear of new virus variants, the Federal Foreign Office (AA) in Berlin advised against “unnecessary” trips to the People’s Republic.
According to estimates by London-based data processor Airfinity, 2.5 million people are currently newly infected in China every day, while 16,600 die every day. According to these estimates, there have already been 209,000 deaths. According to the projections, the number of corona deaths could increase to 1.7 million by the end of April.