The Hong Kong government is in high-level talks to reopen its borders with 11 countries in a new travel bubble as the country looks to rebuild its economy.
The region's Commerce minister Edward Yau Tang-wah said anyone allowed to travel within the bubble would be mandated to undergo COVID-19 PCR testing at both ends of their trip.
This is the first time in months that the administration has provided more details on reopening Hong Kong's borders.
Tang-wah stated that Hong Kong had made contact with 11 countries in regards to a reciprocal reopening of borders.
The 11 countries are:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
The Commerce Minister did however admit that so far the government has only entered bilateral talks with Thailand and Japan.
“These are places with which we have made initial contact, but whether travel bubbles can be established would depend on a host of factors, including the epidemic situation and its containment in respective places,” stated Yau.
While specific groups of travelers have not been named, some countries did say priority would be given to business travelers first according to the South China Morning Post.
“It all depends on how ready and comfortable both parties are with the situation.”
No timelines have been announced on when Hong Kong borders could reopen.
“We need to ensure that a coronavirus test – that is mutually recognised – can be carried out before travelling, and another verification is needed after arrival,” Mr Yau said during the press conference in Hong Kong yesterday.
Asia has remained one of the most locked down areas of the world.
Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, China and Japan all remain closed for general tourism.
Some Asian countries however have reopened travel corridors which allows for business travelers. Malaysia and Singapore reopened the borders between the two countries on August 17th for selected travelers under what was call the ‘Reciprocal Green Lane‘.