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Hong Kong denies reports Macau to be frozen out of travel bubble as Taiwan eases border restrictions

Hong Kong officials, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, have denied reports suggesting Macau could be frozen out of an initial travel bubble between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

A number of Hong Kong media outlets reported this week that talks were underway between Hong Kong and the mainland to implement mutual recognition of COVID-19 virus tests under their respective health code systems, with Hong Kong currently working on finalizing its own system. Those same reports said Macau would not be part of the scheme.

However, Lam dismissed suggestions a travel bubble could open without Macau, stating she has recently spoken with Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng about the issue. Macau currently has no active cases of COVID-19, having cleared the last of its 45 cases on 19 May.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, confirmed to the Legislative Council that discussions were underway between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province to establish a pilot scheme to “relax cross-boundary flow of people between the two places within certain limits in order to facilitate people who need to travel between Guangdong and Hong Kong.”

Under the scheme, which would likely be subject to a quota, the governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong would mutually recognize COVID-19 test results conducted by designated testing facilities, with the mutual recognition to be done through the “health code” of the two jurisdictions. Exempted persons would not be allowed to have left Hong Kong or Guangdong in the previous 14 days.

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