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HK partially shuts border with China starting today

30 January 2020

By The SUN

Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau gates will be kept open to cross-border travelers

The Hong Kong government has ordered a partial closure of its border with China as part of the effort to contain the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.

From today, Jan. 30, travelers to China will only be able to use the Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau border crossings. But they cannot take the East Rail Line from Hung Hom as the station has been closed. 

The West Rail Line from where high-speed trains run between Hong Kong and China has also been closed indefinitely and will be thoroughly sanitized. Nearly all confirmed cases in Hong Kong entered through this route.

Cross-border ferries that originate from China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui and the Tuen Mun Ferry will also stop running until further notice.

The Sha Tau Kok and Man Kam To control points will be closed to private cars and passenger buses, while there will be limited trips for the shuttle coaches and ferries that go to Macau using the Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay ports, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge crossings.

In addition, the four local airlines – Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airline and Hong Kong Express – will gradually cut by half their flight schedules between Hong Kong and 24 mainland destinations.

Cathay Dragon is among 4 local airlines that will gradually cut by half their flights to the mainland

In summary, the following 6 border checkpoints will be closed indefinitely: Hung Hom, West Kowloon, Shau Tau Kok, Man Kam To, China Ferry Terminal and Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal.

Limited overland trips and ferry services to Macau will originate from Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay ports, and the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge crossing.

Only these three crossings will remain open as before: Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Hong Kong International Airport.

All Hong Kong residents still in the mainland are urged to come back and stay at home for at least 14 days as a precaution against the spread of the virus.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam again dismissed calls for a total sealing of the border, saying Hong Kong people made up 75% of all those who left the city up to Jan 27, so it was not meaningful to pursue that option.

“There are a large number of Hong Kong residents who are now travelling in the Mainland and overseas and they need to come back. So, I don’t think it is very meaningful to talk about a complete closure of the boundary control points,” she said.
To further limit the entry of people from the mainland, she said the Central Government had agreed to stop issuing individual visas to Hong Kong, effectively cutting down by half the number of mainland visitors coming in. A further reduction is expected from suspending group tours from the mainland.

The government initiatives to contain the spread of the coronavirus so far include:

 ·   Suspending classes until Feb 17, or two weeks later than was previously announced;
·    Making civil servants work from home, except those providing frontline and emergency services, until Feb 2;
·     Closing all courts and suspending case hearings until Feb 2; 
·     Closing all public parks (including HK Disneyland and Ocean Park), museums, leisure centers, swimming pools and sports facilities until further notice; 
·    Scrapping big events like the annual Hong Kong marathon, scheduled for Feb 5 and 6, and public celebrations of the Lunar New Year; 
·  Suspending all general visiting arrangements, volunteer services and clinical attachment programs at public hospitals 
· Temporarily closing several government offices like the Companies Registry and Official Receivers Office, and suspending public services by the Inland Revenue and Labour Department until Feb 2.


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