Starting from 6pm on Wednesday (August 3), anyone wishing to leave Macau to travel to neighbouring Zhuhai city (pictured, background) in mainland China’s Guangdong province, is exempted from a seven-day quarantine. Zhuhai is normally the key overland gateway for Chinese tourists setting off on, and coming back from, a Macau break.
Travellers to Zhuhai will still be required to present a certificate issued within 24 hours of intended departure, showing a ‘negative’ result for Covid-19 infection, and should after arrival avoid using public transport and going to crowded places, announced the joint Covid-19 task force of the Macau and Zhuhai authorities, in a Wednesday update.
But as of Wednesday afternoon, under current Macau health rules, quarantine-on-arrival inbound to Macau from a number of places in Guangdong still applies, because of some Covid-19 outbreaks in that province.
The travel easing outbound from Macau coincides with an easing of Covid-19 countermeasures in Macau, that had been in place to cope with the biggest local outbreak since the pandemic crisis began in early 2020. Macau has had no reports of community-related Covid-19 infection since July 23.
JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a note issued on Tuesday that “the border opening itself should have a limited impact on gaming demand [in Macau], as the easing would only help essential travellers given the various restrictions.”
Analysts DS Kim and Livy Lyu added: “This can still be seen as a baby step toward the ‘more normal’ mobility environment, and we expect to see the remaining curbs to gradually ease in coming weeks, hopefully before the end of September, in time for October Golden Week.”
JP Morgan had said in a note earlier this week that it only expected what it termed “meaningful business” to return to Macau casinos from the October Golden Week, a holiday season in mainland China encompassing the country’s National Day on October 1, “assuming no more community outbreaks” of Covid-19 occur in Macau.
People travelling from Zhuhai to Macau are still required to present a certificate – issued within 48 hours of departure from Zhuhai – showing a ‘negative’ result for Covid-19 infection. Such a rule has been in force since June 19, coinciding with the early stage of Macau’s community outbreak.
Since the onset of the pandemic, mainland China has been the only place to have a largely-quarantine free travel arrangement with Macau.
Travellers from mainland China places that are deemed ‘high risk’ for Covid-19 infection face mandatory quarantine-on-arrival in Macau, according to the local health authority’s rules. A total of 15 autonomous regions and provinces has places represented on the list. Several communities in Guangdong province – including places respectively within the cities of Huizhou and Shenzhen – were on the list as of Wednesday afternoon.
(Updated 6.10pm, August 3)
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Spokesman from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs