Hong Kong government to partially close border with mainland China Feb. 4 due to 2019 novel coronavirus activity. Transport delays likely.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 03 Feb 2020 13:02 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Partial border closure
  • Location(s): Hong Kong (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Feb. 4
  • Impact: Heightened security measures, business and transport disruptions

Summary
The Hong Kong government will close 10 additional border checkpoints with mainland China from Feb. 4 to limit the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Under the new measures, land border crossings are only possible at the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint and along the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Government officials previously closed two border checkpoints and suspended all high-speed rail and cross-border ferry services Jan. 30; however, reports indicate that more than 100,000 people were still crossing the border daily. Authorities had previously reduced flights with mainland China, and Beijing stopped issuing individual visas for mainland Chinese travelers to the territory. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) remains open.

The border restrictions will probably impact cross-border ground transport and trade. Significant traffic congestion is likely along routes that remain open; government officials could also prioritize crossings for cargo vehicles, as the territory imports most of its food from mainland China. Increased employee absenteeism could also occur, particularly for employees that reside in mainland China.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Plan for transport disruptions, especially if traveling between Hong Kong and mainland China. Allow significant extra time if using land crossings in the coming days.