The Macau authorities have said they will retain a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Hong Kong, despite the latter city having relaxed somewhat the restrictions for people travelling from Macau.
During a Thursday press briefing from the city’s Novel Coronavirus Coordination and Response Centre, the local authorities stated that any relaxation of travel restrictions inbound to Macau from Hong Kong had to be aligned with those of mainland China, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, any easing of restrictions would be subject to “further discussions” with the mainland authorities and the Hong Kong government.
Mainland China is currently the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau. The Macau-Hong Kong border is not technically closed for residents of the two places, but quarantine protocols have effectively rendered travel impractical.
On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government said it planned to allow “non-Hong Kong residents” originating from either Guangdong province or Macau to go to Hong Kong without compulsory quarantine-on-arrival, albeit with a daily quota limit. The unilateral initiative is expected to start from September 15.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a Wednesday note that specific move by the Hong Kong authorities was unlikely to have any meaningful impact on visitor numbers to Macau, and thus be of no benefit to Macau’s tourism sector.
Ease of travel for foreigners
During Thursday’s briefing, Macau Health Bureau official Leong Iek Hou (pictured left) announced that Macau would from September 20 allow the entry of certain eligible foreigners that have been in Hong Kong for a long period of time. But the 14-day quarantine rule would still apply, stated the official.
The measure covers foreign nationals who don’t have the right of residence in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. These people would have to apply for a special entry permit from the local authorities, and they could not have been outside of China in the previous 21 days of their intended arrival in Macau.
The Health Bureau’s Ms Leong said the new measure applies only to five groups of non-resident foreigners: those who hold a Macau residency permit; non-resident workers or holders of special entry permits for professional purposes and their family members; spouses or parents of Macau residents; people taking part in important commercial, academic and professional activities; and students enrolled in tertiary education institutions in Macau.
The Macau government will accept applications from September 15, with the first group expected to enter Macau on September 20 at the earliest. Applicants aged 12 or above must have proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, added Ms Leong.
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