China will end quarantine and reopen to Hong Kong and the rest of the world in early January, ahead of the start of the Chinese New Year on January 22.
As of January 8, inbound travellers will no longer be subject to any quarantine, according to a statement from the country's National Health Commission issued on Monday December 26.
While visitors will be required to show a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of the departure of their flight to China, there will be no mandatory testing on arrival or in the subsequent days.
China is also expected to remove quarantine requirements for cross-border travellers between Hong Kong and the mainland.
The border between Hong Kong and mainland China has been effectively shut for almost three years; currently a daily quota limits how many travellers can enter the mainland from Hong Kong.
Certain groups of Hong Kong residents could be given priority in the initial stages of reopening, as part of efforts to reopen travel “in an orderly manner”, as Hong Kong needs to prepare for an influx of visitors.
Hong Kong’s Under Secretary for Transport and Logistics Liu Chun-san remarked last week that the city was preparing to resume its high-speed rail services with mainland China.
Hong Kong railway services operator MTR said on Sunday it is “working in full swing” to prepare for the border reopening. Most of Hong Kong’s border checkpoints have been closed since early 2020.
However, China has yet to begin issuing tourist visas, which could mean the first stage of this reopening will simply be between the mainland and Hong Kong, while also enabling Chinese nationals to resume visiting other countries.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg