China finally starting to open up after Covid restrictions

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  • cwoodward
    Participant

    Announced Tuesday PM local

    This from SCMP

    ‘China on Tuesday announced changes to its Covid-19 controls that will make it easier to enter the country, the first step towards easing its border restrictions.
    The measures include cutting quarantine time for overseas arrivals to seven days at a government-run facility, followed by another three days in home isolation.
    They mark the biggest changes to the rules since China closed its borders in March 2020, but the controls remain tough compared to many countries that have completely reopened and dropped testing requirements.
    While Beijing continues to insist on a tough “dynamic zero-Covid” policy, it has been sending signals that border controls could gradually be eased, as other countries are removing barriers for international travel 2½ years into the pandemic.’

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The measures include cutting quarantine time for overseas arrivals to seven days at a government-run facility, followed by another three days in home isolation.

    It sounds as if China is doing the west a favour. 7 days quarantine in a government run facility plus 3 days home isolation…. Yep, join the queue in an orderly fashion…. CX are ready to take your bookings….


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Actually Martyn you would be hard-pushed to find a CX flight to mainland China at the moment most have not run for the past 2 years and services that are running are almost all ‘freight only’ – many using passenger aircraft.

    The reason that I posted this was because it represents the first tacit acknowledgement from China that its current Covid policies are unsustainable thus I believed it to be significant as perhaps would you if you needed to attend to business in China.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Morning cwoodward

    I took your “China” comment to mean or include HKG.

    I am still reading horrendous stories through several Facebook groups of the continual difficulties passengers are having getting flights, hotels, navigating through hkg Airport. When flights cancel, the process needs to restart. These are mostly people that don’t have the luxury of 5 star hotels or business class travel.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Morning Martyn

    There is so much wanton destructive hysteria regarding the events of the past couple of years re changes to the ‘one country two system’ operating in HK ( actually there is almost no change) the HK basic law changes and the predictably bombastic knee jerk reactions of the ex colonial power that it is a challenge for anyone to trawl through this muck in order to find any facts at all.
    All of this is of course very predictable and Facebook is not where you will find much that approaches reality or the truth Martyn. Better to perhaps keep an open mind and dig a little deeper (perhaps a lot deeper).
    The airport functions much as it always has (an efficient rarity from what one reads) hotels are available but with more demand in the past couple of weeks and most only partly open prices have risen but will find a level.
    I am not at all political but, do value truth above all. Living here and with connections gained years 40 years I do both live the reality and have some insight into the politics and how China views Hong Kong.
    Just for the record I do of course, like most of the older taxi drivers whish Hong Kong was still British but can happily live with the realities if not the political rubbish spouted by those who have little knowledge and or respect for truth many of who should know better. The unfortunate reality is that it will not stop but Hong Kong will recover, many of those that left will return as will the tourists.
    Funny old world…..


    stevescoots
    Participant

    Been waiting 2.5 years to get back to my company in the South, and this will not make me rush back. if it was hotels then I may..may consider it. The biggest problem is being able to get back out again. almost zero flight, none from UK and the inbound rules mean if you go to a 3rd country you have to do all the testing etc there. on top of that almost all the expats I know have either left or trying to but finding it very hard to get flights out, especially in the south. The risk of having to transit through a China city on the edge of lockdown makes trying to get into Hk a breeze! As what happened to a friend of mine who travelled from GZ to shanghai to get a flight then ended up stuck weeks when the locked it down, missing his flight
    He is still in China….

    This does nothing. If HK made more hotels available so unexpected changes due to flight changes can be done then I would do the 7 days to get back into the office there. but at the moment I still have my bet on mainland not being reasonable to enter until after CNY 2022 and HK maybe Q4 this year reducing quarantine to 3 days + reducing the Draconian airline rules so that carriers may restart.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    All of this is of course very predictable and Facebook is not where you will find much that approaches reality or the truth Martyn.

    There are some very detailed stories on CLOSED/PRIVATE facebook groups giving an insight to the continual hassles travellers are having to not only book flights into HKG, but making changes when the flights are cancelled/changed. It seems the hotels are the current winners by having a very captive audience. Suggest you search and perhaps join some of the Hong Kong Hotel Quarantine facebook groups. You can then decide the accuracy of the reporting/posts..

    The airport functions much as it always has

    I remember on many occasions landing at HKIA and with a bit of luck and a waiting train, being in Kowloon within the hour. Are you positively sure cwoodward, the airport is functioning as it always has, for inbound travellers? Again, there are many stories about the long walks, continual paper checks and continual testing for inbounds.

    You are right though, business and tourist travel will come back, but I don’t think it will start to return whilst there is any form of Quarantine, 7 days, 3 days or 1 day. I was going to say that HKG and China need to live with covid, but they dont, they are able to do as they please, which is how they continue to mandate the control of their borders.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Martyn I have of course not been to the airport for the past couple of weeks because I have been confined to barracks with Covid but I have close friends friends who went to UK on Monday and reported absolutely no problems and were of course very happy that the 2 main Cathay lounges were open. Other friends came in from Philippines and told me that while manila was its normal chaotic self HK was smooth but busier than 2 months previously. I will be there my self on Saturday seeing nbr 3 son off to Canada and will report. I don’t doubt for one moment that as everywhere there were difficulties and delays at the height of Covid but that was some months ago. As everywhere there are those who arrive unprepared without the necessary paperwork and cause distress to themselves and delays to others and revert to social medio to vent there frustrations. From all accounts from friends and those that I know who work at the airport or for airlines both arrivals and departures are close to the normal flow

    I posted the the announcement re China because It seemed an important and significant change to mainland policy not because in its self it represented much help to those of us who need to be back and forth to China. Stock markets seemed to agree and major HK stocks rose significantly on the day with Cathay gaining 6.5%.the most in a very long time

    I share stevscoots frustrations having built a new plant by largely remote control over the past 2 years and endured the frustrations that that involved but I do believe that China’s covid mindset has changed things will only improve relatively quickly going forward not the least because huge and unsustainable damage is being caused to the Chinese economy. Where we would have had in the past 5 or 6 suppliers of a certain component that is down to 2 or perhaps 3 now. Hundreds of thoudands of factories have closed or moved from China in the past 2 years. To the point where in countries like Vietnam there is no longer any labour available. We are now looking at Philippines as the location for a small labour intensive plant.

    Hotels are ramping up fast to meet demand but of course there is always some lag however looking this morning rooms are available…..but many no cheap.


    stevescoots
    Participant

    Martyn I have of course not been to the airport for the past couple of weeks because I have been confined to barracks with Covid but I have close friends friends who went to UK on Monday and reported absolutely no problems and were of course very happy that the 2 main Cathay lounges were open. Other friends came in from Philippines and told me that while manila was its normal chaotic self HK was smooth but busier than 2 months previously. I will be there my self on Saturday seeing nbr 3 son off to Canada and will report. I don’t doubt for one moment that as everywhere there were difficulties and delays at the height of Covid but that was some months ago. As everywhere there are those who arrive unprepared without the necessary paperwork and cause distress to themselves and delays to others and revert to social medio to vent there frustrations. From all accounts from friends and those that I know who work at the airport or for airlines both arrivals and departures are close to the normal flow

    I posted the the announcement re China because It seemed an important and significant change to mainland policy not because in its self it represented much help to those of us who need to be back and forth to China. Stock markets seemed to agree and major HK stocks rose significantly on the day with Cathay gaining 6.5%.the most in a very long time

    I share stevscoots frustrations having built a new plant by largely remote control over the past 2 years and endured the frustrations that that involved but I do believe that China’s covid mindset has changed things will only improve relatively quickly going forward not the least because huge and unsustainable damage is being caused to the Chinese economy. Where we would have had in the past 5 or 6 suppliers of a certain component that is down to 2 or perhaps 3 now. Hundreds of thoudands of factories have closed or moved from China in the past 2 years. To the point where in countries like Vietnam there is no longer any labour available. We are now looking at Philippines as the location for a small labour intensive plant.

    Hotels are ramping up fast to meet demand but of course there is always some lag however looking this morning rooms are available…..but many no cheap.

    The ongoing situation and the way the Govt in BJ have reacted gives a strong indication on the direction up there in general for the next 10+ years. Whilst our Cn site is still in the black we are not closing it but there will be no more investment, as things break then work will be moved out. last week we signed on the line to set up a 2nd Factory in VN in HCMC, operational in Q2 next year. depending on where you are i do not see a significant labour shortage in VN if setting up away from the big beasts such as Samsung, Foxconn etc. Labour rates are rising fast for sure but overall I see VN still being 20-30% lower cost than CN on labour intensive skilled production going forward taking things in the round. I also looked at most other locations in Asia and PH was taken off the list quite early on.

    Back to travel! i have several friends who have exited HK on business or family, and all have had problems getting back in with flight changes leading to 3+ week extension to overseas trips. That’s not HKIA fault, it’s down to Gov policy. I myself have flown transit through HKG during covid maybe 6 times, last time 2.5 weeks ago. I found it to still be very well organised and more shops starting to open. Having transit passengers isolated to the bottom of Nathan Road as its known is a pain tho if you have a significant transit time and apart from pricing its why I have switched to QR and EK for my Asia schleps. I can face an 8 hour transit in Doh or DXB, but not in one solitary lounge and a small gate area in HKG. Even so its still a ghost town and one suspect that if they had the same sudden open as the west has they will struggle, albeit better than most. That is the nature of sudden capacity ramp up. People have to be hired, trained etc.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    christ
    Participant

    From what I understand leaving HK is very easy and nothing like the chaos of European airports (based on friends who have left recently). I am not sure if all shops etc are back to normal but there are a few Cathay lounges (not sure re other airlines).

    I do not think things are as bad as they were at the end of last year but when I came back in November, it took about 6 hours from landing to get to the quarantine hotel and was hell. Pointless miles of long walks in the terminals and endless checks (no idea why need so many checks – creating jobs). Eventually when we got to testing, we then had to wait at a boarding gate in like an exam style room for near 3 hours for results. It was then the train and then immigration (zero queue) and then guess what, more scans and queues for different buses waiting in the terminal until we were escorted to the correct bus. Pointless as bus was packed to the quarantine hotel and so no social distancing and then the doors locked behind us in the hotel.

    Really it is the most ridiculous process – much like getting a COVID jab. In UK, you book at a pharmacy and in and out in 10 mins. Here again it is a long process of scanning docs.

    I do think the process has eased a bit but i may be wrong – i think you no longer have to wait for results in the airport and that was the biggest pain.

    I was lucky returning as my flights were cancelled numerous times and the Four Points Sheraton were outstanding with flexibility. However, I have many friends who were not so lucky and had to pay for new flights with another airline or lose accommodation.

    I am still thinking of travelling and with the exception of the odd week, there generally does seem to be availability for example at Ocean Park Marriott (c. HKD 1,000 a night) or W (c. HKD 2,000 a night) and so not the cheapest but it is there.

    Hotels are taking advantage as SCMP reports the hike in prices and almost feels like a way for the government to indirectly subsidise the hotels. I am sure this would be no different from elsewhere in the past.

    Regarding the changes of the last 2 years, I can honestly say that nothing has really changed that has impacted my daily life (well apart from July 1 visit as all roads are closed where i live in Wan Chai). As long as you are not provocative and act sensibly you can enjoy a very good life. Only yesterday, I enjoyed a lovely game of tennis in the Mid – Levels (right in city) with beautiful views and the day before at Victoria Park with huge open space. Also many excellent hikes on the door step or on one of the islands – so many things easily accessible. Beautiful rooftop pools. Also most of all, I find the people super friendly and welcoming and no fear of crime. I cannot recommend enough – the only short term downside is not being able to travel at weekends to other countries.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Was at the airport on Saturday to see No3 son off to Toronto.
    The airport Cathay areas were busy (at about 40% of normal I would say) many more shops and food outlets upon too.
    Check in was 100% as the pre covid normal and all very fast and smooth. Aircraft (A350-1000) to Toronto was over booked by 7 and the Sunday flight was full also.
    Son reported that the pier lounge was open and most normal offerings available but less on display – he estimated about 50 people in the lounge. Food onboard (premium economy) back to normal quality and serving procedure. Crew very nice to him -he’s 16.

    I had a chat to a check-in supervisor who I have known for some years and she said that staff put off during covid are returning and she estimates about 60% will return and believes that should be no problem ramping up in coming months as new joiners plus many from other airlines put off by covid and more from Thailand etc. Good loadings to UK and Australia/NZ and Asia flights busy. She mentioned that need more pilots soon a now only about 2300 and they will need 3000+ (she is married to a 747-800 freighter captain).

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