Hong Kong will drastically reduce cross-border travel with China in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, starting with the shutdown of the two railways and denying entry to individual mainland travellers, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.
Flights from and to mainland China will be cut by half and cross-border tour buses will also be reduced, the South China Morning Post quoted Lam as saying in a press conference as she listed the containment strategy that stopped short of a total shutdown demanded by legislators from across the political spectrum.
Beijing has agreed to stop issuing individual visas for travellers, who account for half of all such mainland arrivals into Hong Kong.
The measures will be effective midnight on Thursday.
In her second press conference on measures to cope with the infection that has claimed 106 lives in China, Lam, wearing a mask, said that the through train services between Hung Hom and Guangzhou would be suspended, while the Man Kan To and Sha Tau Kok checkpoints would also be closed.
According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, eight confirmed cases have been reported in Hong Kong, seven in Macau and five in Taiwan.
As of Tuesday, there were at least 106 fatalities due to the coronavirus in China, with 4,515 confirmed cases in 30 provincial-level regions, according to the country’s National Health Commission.
At the moment, Tibet remains the only Chinese province that has not registered any cases.