Guangdong in mainland China and its neighbouring jurisdictions Hong Kong and Macau are currently in discussions over a plan that would allow residents of the Chinese province and of the two special administrative regions to travel freely within the three places without having to go through the compulsory 14-day quarantine process currently in place. There were however still strings attached to that idea, said Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (pictured in a file photo).
Hong Kong’s top official mentioned the concept in an interview with Chinese-language newspaper Ta Kung Pao, published on Monday. The governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau were looking to frame some form of quarantine-free travel arrangement “within this month”, Ms Lam told the media outlet.
Ms Lam said the governments of the three places were considering two conditions for such an easing: one was that those travelling needed to have “some specific purpose,” to their journey.
The other was that those crossing the boundaries would need to have taken and passed a nucleic acid test showing they were free from Covid-19 infection.
A member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council commented last week that the authorities in Hong Kong and Macau ought to consider creating a “travel bubble” that would allow residents of the two cities to freely travel between the two places without having to go through any quarantine process, as the cities have recently seen either low or – in Macau’s case – no cases of fresh Covid-19 infection.
Macau and its neighbouring mainland Chinese city Zhuhai – part of Guangdong province – had already announced over the weekend an easing of rules whereby certain people living in Zhuhai but with a non-resident work permit for Macau would be able to cross the border between the two places without the quarantine procedure. This was provided that they were certified free of Covid-19 infection via a nucleic acid test or could present a certificate of sample collection for such a test done within the prior seven days; and had undergone also a self-declaration on their health condition at both sides of the border.
A 14-day quarantine rule for such Macau non-resident workers had been in place since February 20, around the same time that a 15-day precautionary shuttering of the city’s casinos came to an end.
At the Macau end the updated “health code” system involves a mobile phone-enabled application devised by the Macau government that works as a health declaration system. It is linked to the Macau health authorities’ database of all information related to the city’s Covid-19 cases.
A ‘green’ code signifies that the visitor is: not a former or currently-confirmed or suspected Covid-19 case; not a former or current contact of an infected person; has no symptoms of infection by the virus; and has not been in countries or regions with a high incidence of Covid-19 , whereby they would otherwise require a quarantine process. A similar code system operated on the Guangdong side applies for Macau non-resident workers wishing to return to Zhuhai.
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