The Macau authorities have stated that they will maintain a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Hong Kong, despite the latter city relaxing some of the restrictions for visitors from Macau.
During a press conference on Thursday, the city’s Novel Coronavirus Coordination and Response Centre stated that any relaxation of travel restrictions inbound to Macau from Hong Kong had to be aligned with those of mainland China, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, any relaxation of restrictions would be subject to “further discussions” with both the mainland and Hong Kong.
Currently, Mainland China is the only place with a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau. Although the Macau-Hong Kong border is not technically closed to residents of the two cities, quarantine protocols have effectively made travel impossible.
On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government announced plans to allow “non-Hong Kong residents” from either Guangdong province or Macau to visit Hong Kong without mandatory quarantine upon arrival, subject to a daily quota. The unilateral initiative is set to begin on September 15.
According to JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd, in a Wednesday note, the Hong Kong authorities’ specific move was unlikely to have any meaningful impact on visitor numbers to Macau, and thus would be of no benefit to Macau’s tourism sector.
Foreigners’ travel convenience
During a press conference on Thursday, Macau Health Bureau official Leong Iek Hou (pictured left) announced that beginning September 20, Macau will allow the entry of certain eligible foreigners who have lived in Hong Kong for a long time. However, the official stated that the 14-day quarantine rule would still apply.
The law applies to foreign nationals who do not have the right to reside in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. These individuals would need to apply to the local authorities for a special entry permit, and they could not have been outside of China in the previous 21 days of their intended arrival in Macau.
According to Ms. Leong of the Health Bureau, the new measure only applies to five groups of non-resident foreigners:
- those with 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 participating in important commercial, academic, and professional activities;
- and students enrolled in interdisciplinary programs.
The Macau government will begin accepting applications on September 15, with the first group expected to arrive in Macau no later than September 20. Applicants aged 12 and up must provide proof that they have been fully immunized against Covid-19, according to Ms. Leong.