China is rapidly dismantling Covid Zero approach to the COVID-19 virus after the border was effectively closed for almost three years.

China and Hong Kong will start quarantine-free travel as soon as January, media outlet HK01 reported, as the mainland rapidly unwinds its Covid Zero measures. 

Travel could resume as soon as Jan. 9, the report said, according to people from the Guangdong health commission. China would require visitors from Hong Kong to undergo three days of home monitoring. 

The resumption of tourism from the mainland would be a boon for Hong Kong’s economy, which has been hobbled by more than two years of Covid-related border restrictions. Economists from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. believe the city could see an estimated 7.6% boost to its gross domestic product from China’s reopening as exports and tourism income climbs.

In 2019, there were more than 236 million passenger trips via land crossings across the border. Tourism is expected to slowly recover as China has some top tourist attractions such as the famous Great Wall, Terracotta Army, the Forbidden City and more. The Great Wall was voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, not only for its long history, but also its massive construction size, and its unique architectural style. 

In another sign from senior Chinese officials that the country is emerging from its Covid Zero isolation, the country’s ambassador to the US said that China will continue to relax its strict Covid-19 measures and will welcome more international travellers in the “near future.”  

China has rapidly dismantled its Covid Zero regime in recent weeks. The South China Morning Post reported that there is “a good chance” of a “large-scale” pilot program for quarantine-free travel before the Lunar New Year holidays, which start on Jan. 22.

The border with mainland China has been effectively closed since February 2020. Visitors from Hong Kong are limited by a daily quota, and they also have to undergo five days of hotel quarantine. 

Hong Kong’s leader John Lee explained the government will conduct a full review of the city’s Covid measures, including the city’s Leavehomesafe app used to enter venues, and he expects to get a report “soon.” Reducing restrictions on people crossing the border is a priority, he told reporters, without giving any timetable for resuming quarantine-free travel. 

Hong Kong’s government stated that the exact date for quarantine-free travel with China is still unknown.