Travellers on Monday said they were happy with the full border reopening with the mainland, as they anxiously waited for the first northbound trains to start their journeys.
The authorities relaxed all travel restrictions on Monday, when travel quotas were eliminated, PCR tests for most scrapped, and all road and train checkpoints reopened.
Instead, commuters have to declare their health status before crossing the border, and they can do it online before arriving at the checkpoints.
Secretary for Security Chris Tang, who inspected several checkpoints, said as of noon some 83,000 travellers had crossed the border – 50,000 of them heading north with the rest entering the SAR.
Some travellers waited around an hour and a half for train services to resume to Lo Wu Station, as the border crossing there reopened after a three-year pandemic hiatus.
"[Lo Wu] is more convenient for us, we're going back to Zhaoqing. There's a coach going there right after we cross the border," said a man who's making his first trip to the Guangdong town since the pandemic began.
"I just want to [go to Shenzhen] to arrange some banking matters, because I never went back to the mainland for three years," another traveller told RTHK.
Other commuters said things went mostly smoothly, with one describing his experience as "super-fast and I went straight through" the border gates.
Meanwhile, the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai checkpoint has opened to individual travellers for the first time. It was only open to trucks in previous years.
A Fanling resident told RTHK that a bus service to this newly-available checkpoint can save around half the journey time compared to crossing the border at Sha Tau Kok.
Tang also said the situation at the crossings was generally smooth, but the security minister said the Lo Wu checkpoint may become more congested later because of construction work, and urged people to be patient then.
The MTR Corporation said that up till noon, around 22,000 passengers had used the Lo Wu station to cross the border. The rail company says operations have generally been smooth.
Last updated: 2023-02-06 HKT 15:31