Macau is not planning currently any relaxation of the Covid-19 test requirement for anyone wishing to enter the city from neighbouring Hong Kong, said Alvis Lo Iek Long, clinical director at Macau public health facility Conde S. Januário Hospital, in comments in a local press briefing on Monday. Mr Lo nonetheless acknowledged that Hong Kong had recently seen an improvement in its Covid-19 infection data.
The Macau official noted that Hong Kong had recently seen only single-digit daily increases in Covid-19 infections. But the neighbouring metropolis was still – as of Sunday – recording cases categorised as of ‘unknown origin’, leading to the risk of what Mr Lo called an “invisible transmission chain” that could pose fresh risk to public health, particularly via people that were asymptomatic.
“For now we are not relaxing the issuance validity period of the virus test for Hong Kong travellers,” said Mr Lo. Anyone wishing to visit Macau via Hong Kong, must have a certificate for freedom from Covid-19 infection, issued within 24 hours of intended arrival. Even then, such travellers would still need to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival.
Mr Lo added that the Macau government would however review after the October 1 National Day holiday, whether Macau could relax the existing Covid-19 prevention measures facing travellers via Hong Kong.
In other developments, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration, effectively ruled out – in comments on Monday in that city’s Legislative Council – the possibility of Hong Kong normalising travel ties with mainland China prior to the imminent early-October holiday.
The Hong Kong official reiterated that trials of a “health code” system – a self-declaration mechanism for travellers to confirm they have no symptoms of Covid-19 – had been “completed”. Such a system is seen as a precondition for easing travel between that city and, respectively, Macau and the mainland China province of Guangdong.
Hong Kong’s declaration system will in likelihood be used initially to permit cross-border travel for urgent family matters or business, rather than for leisure, Mr Cheung told Hong Kong legislators.
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Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance