To achieve full resumption of cross-border travel within short period

The Chief Executive said the government would strive to achieve a full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the mainland within a short period.

Up to 60,000 travellers are allowed to cross seven checkpoints on the border each day from Sunday, among which 50,000 are granted to travel by registering online in advance, and 10,000 are exempted from registration.

During a visit to Lok Ma Chau port on the first day of resuming quarantine-free cross-border travels, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said Hong Kong is seeking to further expand the number of crossing points from the current seven to the full 14.

"The goal is to get back as quickly as possible to the pre-epidemic normal life," Lee said, "We want cooperation between the two sides[of Hong Kong and the mainland] back on track."

He said all the relevant border control points were in good operation and the public could travel smoothly.

A total of 9,000 travellers left Hong Kong via Lok Ma Chau to enter China as of 11am on Sunday, security minister Chris Tang Ping-keung said. 

Around half of today's daily quotas for crossing the border are still available for registration.

"Most people booked to depart on January 20, the eve of Lunar New Year, but so far there are still 1,000 quotas for that day available for registration," Lee said.

He added that the relevant authorities will closely monitor the situation, including the arrangements before and after the Lunar New Year, to come up with an overall plan for realising the goal of full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the mainland in a secure and manageable way.

However, Lee added the government may not cancel in the short term the requirement for travellers to present negative results of nucleic acid tests made within 48 hours before their cross-border travellers given the potential pressure on the health system.

According to Xinhua, Shenzhen and Hong Kong will review the first phase of border reopening in a week. On the basis of the consensus reached by both sides, the arrangement of the second phase will be announced.