Starting from the stroke of midnight on April 20 (Wednesday), people travelling to Macau from next-door mainland province Guangdong – via any land or marine checkpoints with Zhuhai city – must hold a Covid-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours, instead of the previously-maintained 24 hours, said Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
The 24-hour validity rule had been introduced on March 18, coinciding with an uptick of Covid-19 infections in mainland China.
With the latest easing of the Covid-19 test validity rules, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), told the media at an event on Tuesday, she hoped the city would receive a daily tally of over 20,000 visitor arrivals during the upcoming five-day Labour Day break in May. The holiday period is designated by China’s State Council to run from April 30 to May 4.
Macau has seen a daily average of 18,000 visitor arrivals from April 15 to April 18, the MGTO boss also noted. The four-day period the tourism official mentioned coincides with the Easter holiday season in Macau, which is not observed as a vacation period on the mainland .
But brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Tuesday memo, it expected April’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) and “likely May”, would “continue to be weak”.
The institution’s analyst Vitaly Umansky stated that beyond the travel easing announced with Guangdong, headwinds for Macau tourism from the mainland persisted.
“The city’s arrival-quarantine requirement has extended to travellers from over 40 cities in 23 provinces – approximately two-thirds of all Chinese provinces,” noted the analyst.
Guangdong province-bound travellers departing from Macau are required – as previously – to present a nucleic acid test certificate issued with seven days, proving they are negative for novel coronavirus infection, the Macau Covid-19 task force reiterated in its Tuesday announcement.
Currently, mainland China is the only place that has a where-feasible quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau.
(Updated April 19, 5.20pm)
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