Thousands stream to China as borders reopen following 3-year Covid-19 lockdown

After three years, mainland China lifted crossing curbs with Hong Kong and ended a requirement for all incoming travellers to quarantine.

Long queues of passengers – many eager for long-awaited reunions – formed at Hong Kong’s international airport for flights to cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Xiamen.

‘I’m so happy, so excited. I haven’t seen my parents for many years,’ said Teresa Chow as she prepared to cross into China via Hong Kong’s Lok Ma Chau checkpoint.

‘My parents are not in good health and I couldn’t go back to see them even when they had colon cancer,’ she added ahead of her journey to eastern city Ningbo.

At Beijing Capital International airport, there were emotional reunions for passengers arriving from Hong Kong, Warsaw and Frankfurt.

‘I’ve been looking forward to the reopening for a long time. Finally, we are reconnected with the world. I’m thrilled, I can’t believe it’s happening,’ said a businesswoman surnamed Shen, 55, who flew in from Hong Kong.

China’s easing over the past month of one of the world’s strictest Covid regimes followed protests against frequent testing, curbs on movement and mass lockdowns.

Experts predict the lifting of curbs will reinvigorate an economy suffering its lowest growth in nearly half a century. But the abrupt policy reversal has triggered a massive wave of infections that is overwhelming hospitals and causing business disruptions.

The reopening follows the start of chun yun – the first period of lunar new year travel – which was traditionally the world’s largest annual migration of people returning to their home towns for holidays with family. Some 2billion trips are expected to be made, nearly double last year’s movement and up to 70 per cent of 2019 levels.

Many Chinese are also expected to start travelling abroad, to tourist spots in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. But several governments – including Britain’s – have imposed restrictions on travellers from China due to concerns about the Covid spike.

Meanwhile, there were protests in some Chinese cities which saw hundreds of Tesla owners gathering at showrooms to protest against sudden price cuts that came too late for them.

Source” Content adapted from metro

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