When asked about the requirements or obstacles to re-open the border with mainland on Tuesday, Lam mentioned that last year one of the prerequisites was to achieve no local infections for a while.

She said the government had been discussing with mainland authorities resuming quarantine-free travel back in September, following a very long period of zero local cases - for almost four months.

Lam said the government now have to reaffirm whether this is still the prerequisite for resumption of travel with mainland. She noted that she need to do, or John Lee Ka-chiu has to do if it happens within the beginning of his term, is to engage with the mainland authorities and to understand whether what they discussed last September to December still stand as the prerequisites for the resumption of travel.

Hong Kong has recently begun lifting social-distancing restrictions and taken some steps to ease inbound travel curbs as it emerges from the Covid-19 outbreak. But the measures remain strict compared with global peers and have received a lukewarm reaction from many business groups.

Lam said Hong Kong still has to strictly adhere to a strategy to try to reduce the importation of cases, enhance its hotel quarantine and also the flight suspension mechanism.

“These measures exactly are to create the necessary preconditions for resuming quarantine-free travel into the mainland.” Lam said.