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HK in talks with 11 countries on reopening borders

08 September 2020

By The SUN
Yau says more travel destinations could open for HK once it gets the Covid-19 outbreak under control

Hong Kong officials say they’re in talk with 11 countries on creating “travel bubbles” that will allow travel between and among their residents.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau made the disclosure at  a press conference today, Sept 8, on the further easing of gathering restrictions in Hong Kong as the number of Covid-19 cases dipped to their lowest level since early July.

Yau said among the countries Hong Kong has been in talks with are Japan, Thailand, France, Switzerland and Germany, which acts as coordinator for other countries in Europe.
Asked if there was a timetable for reopening the city’s borders, Yau said: “Of course the timetable would be a matter of bilateral agreement between Hong Kong and the partnering countries.”

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Any agreement that will be reached would likely include a pre-boarding test which both governments must recognize, as well as a post-arrival check at the destination country.
“The purpose is to have a mutually confident approach where there can be travel between two jurisdictions,” Yau said.

For this to happen, he said both places should first have the coronavirus outbreak under control.
The commerce chief also announced that theme parks and exhibition venues could reopen next week if the downward trend in the number of cases continues.

Ocean Park and HK Disney could reopen by next week
He said both Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland have already put in place infection controls such as requiring visitors to book their places ahead of time, taking temperatures at the entrance, and disinfecting facilities.

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He added nowhere in the world would people wait for a zero risk of infection before reopening amusement parks and exhibition venues.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui said that also from next week, museums and libraries will reopen, but with crowd control firmly in place.

Performing venues will also be allowed to open, but they can only be used for rehearsals and not for public performances before an audience.

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“If the situation further improves, we can open the venues to audiences,” Yau said, setting down October as the target date for allowing audiences in small numbers to attend live performances.

Skating rinks will also reopen for trainings, but with a maximum of four people, including the coach, gathering as a group.

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Water sports facilities will also be considered for reopening, subject to restrictions.
But sauna parlors and children’s playrooms where close contact cannot be avoided are not likely to reopen soon.

This week, more sports venues will reopen, following the opening of jogging trails, tennis courts, golf courses and other facilities that require little body contact among participants or players.
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