The Macau health authorities have slightly eased Covid-19-related control and prevention measures for people arriving to the city from outside mainland China. The requirement for those inbound travellers to undergo a seven-day quarantine period in a hotel, followed by a three-day period of “self-management” of their health, remains unchanged.
According to an announcement on Thursday, arrivals from outside mainland China – including from Hong Kong and Taiwan – will no longer need to undergo a four-day phase of so-called “self-health monitoring” after completing the “self-management” period. During that “self-health monitoring” phase, people had been advised to avoid attending any activities or events where crowds would gather.
As part of the modest easing of the rules, the Macau authorities have reduced the overall number of Covid-19 nucleic acid tests that inbound travellers from outside mainland China must complete on the days following their release from quarantine. People now will be required to do four tests in the first four days after being released from quarantine. Currently, the number of required nucleic acid tests stands at five over a span of seven days.
The changes take effect from Saturday (October 15), according to a Thursday update by the city’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.
In August, the Macau authorities had lowered from 10 days to seven days the amount of time people arriving from either Hong Kong, Taiwan or “overseas” places must spend in quarantine before being allowed into the community.
During the three days of so-called “self-management” of their health, travellers must keep watch for any Covid-like symptoms. During that period, the individual’s electronic health code is ‘yellow’, meaning the person cannot enter certain places including government offices, restaurants, and leisure facilities, including casinos.
The latest announcement comes as a number of local scholars says China shows no sign of significantly easing its “dynamic zero-Covid” policy regarding community management of Covid-19 infection risk. According to one of them, the policy may persist into next year, with the potential for continued impact on Macau’s casino sector.
The term “dynamic” is understood to be an indication by the mainland authorities of the need for mass-testing and if necessary lockdowns, but on a rolling basis, depending on when and where outbreaks occur.
To date, mainland China remains the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau. The Macau government has stated on several occasions that its Covid-19 prevention policy is in line with mainland China’s.
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