NewsWorldLatest world news brief today, September 23

Latest world news brief today, September 23

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Hong Kong lifts international travel quarantine after more than two years A group of people wear masks on a busy street in Hong Kong’s densely populated Mong Kok district on December 22, 2021. The Hong Kong government announced the end of formal quarantine for international travelers after more than two and a half years of strict pandemic controls. Incoming travelers will have to undergo three days of screening upon arrival. Hong Kong’s government has faced considerable pressure from its business community and some public health officials to relax restrictions amid a faltering economy, an outflow of foreigners and concerns that the financial hub, once known as “Asia’s world city”, it was falling behind as the rest of the world came through the pandemic. Questions about when the city would loosen restrictions have grown more acute as two major international events, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament and a world banking conference, were scheduled for November and were seen as a way to revive the beleaguered city, which it has been rocked in recent years by pro-democracy protests and the subsequent crackdown on civil liberties by Beijing. While several governments implemented border controls after the outbreak of the pandemic, most have since rolled back the measures, including Singapore, which usually competes with Hong Kong to attract foreign companies and talent. But unlike other global hubs, Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies have long been seen as closely tied to mainland China, where Beijing continues to uphold a strict zero-Covid policy and border quarantines, with no sign of easing, as that eradicating the infection remains a priority problem. Calls for international border controls to be loosened under the leadership of Lee’s predecessor, Carrie Lam, who left office on June 30, were stymied by a competing demand to allow quarantine-free travel to the mainland, a proposal that has not yet been fulfilled. A public sign of Beijing’s support for Hong Kong’s new political path came on September 20, when the deputy head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, Huang Liuquan, said that the Hong Kong government had been coordinating its policies according to your local situation and that adjustments have been made and do not need to be “over-interpreted”.

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