June 1, 2023
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China, HK resume high-speed rail link after 3 years of COVID curbs

HONG KONG/BEIJING — China resumed on Sunday high-speed rail providers between Hong Kong and the mainland for the primary time for the reason that starting of the COVID-19 pandemic, because it dismantles journey curbs after Beijing scrapped quarantine for arrivals per week earlier.

The re-opening comes amidst a large wave of infections nationwide and a day after authorities stated practically 60,000 folks with COVID had died in hospital, following final month’s abrupt U-turn on “zero-COVID” coverage within the wake of historic protests.

Regardless of the infections, some passengers voiced pleasure and aid about with the ability to extra simply return to their hometowns in time for the approaching Lunar New Yr.

“The resumption of the high-speed railway has made it very convenient for us and has brought us closer to home,” stated Mang Lee, 33, who was amongst dozens going by border checks at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon station earlier than boarding trains.

“For the past three years, due to the pandemic, it has not been easy to enter China in any way,” added Meng, initially from the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. “I have not been able to go home for a long time.”

A surge in journey forward of the vacation celebrations set to start on Jan. 21, as lots of of tens of millions of folks return house from cities to small cities and rural areas, has fueled worries about extra infections.

Saturday’s up to date loss of life toll was an enormous improve over earlier figures, following international criticism of China’s coronavirus information. The transfer was welcomed by the World Well being Group, though the physique referred to as for extra detailed information.

However the determine nonetheless falls quick of the predictions of worldwide well being consultants, who’ve stated China may have greater than 1,000,000 COVID-related deaths this yr.

Operations at West Kowloon station have been easy, with a circulate of about 1,400 passengers by 10 a.m., stated Cheung Chi-keung, head of operator MTR Corp.’s cross-boundary operations.

Tickets for practically all trains have been offered out on Sunday, a show on the station confirmed, a Reuters witness stated.

The re-opening will initially be only for quick journeys, MTR chairman Rex Auyeung instructed reporters on the station.

Hong Kong’s transport secretary, Lam Sai-hung, stated he couldn’t affirm when long-haul journeys would resume, however that may be after talks with mainland authorities. — Reuters

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