Cross-border students stranded in Macao aged below 14 can now spend their 14-day quarantine at home in Zhuhai, instead of undergoing mandatory hotel quarantine there.
Wong Ka Ki, who heads the Non-Tertiary Education Department of the Education and Youth Development Bureau (DSEDJ), said around 500 cross-border students are eligible for the new measure.
Macao authorities will arrange for those who want to return to their homes in Zhuhai to cross the border today and tomorrow.
Wong said the returning cross-border students can be accompanied by one person. All of them must present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming a negative Covid-19 result valid for 24 hours when crossing the border.
The cross-border students are required to undergo their Covid-19 tests at the Macao Forum NAT station in Zape or the Taipa Ferry Terminal NAT station in Pac On. The test is free of charge for students, while their companion has to pay MOP 70.
Hundreds of Macao-Zhuhai cross-border students have been stranded in Macao since the Zhuhai government suspended a plan to lift its 14-day hotel quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macao, which was originally scheduled to begin on Monday last week.
The suspension on 4 October came after the confirmation of a Covid-19 renovation worker cluster earlier that day – which comprised six patients as of last night. After the confirmation of the first patient of the renovation worker cluster on Monday morning last week, the Macao government suspended its plan to resume classes in schools and in-class teaching at higher education institutions, which was initially scheduled to restart that day.
According to official statistics, around 1,000 cross-border students had returned to Macao with the purpose of attending their classes after the Macao government announced on 1 October the resumption of school classes on 4 October, and the Zhuhai government announced on 3 October the commencement on 4 October of the lifting of the hotel quarantine requirement for Macao arrivals. As the quarantine lifting was abruptly suspended, the cross-border students who had returned to Macao have been stranded in the city since then.
In response, the Macao government offered free temporary accommodation in Macao for the affected cross-border students, such as youth hostels run by the DSEDJ and accommodation on the University of Macao campus.
Over half of the 1,000 affected cross-border students chose to stay in the government-provided accommodation, while others opted to stay with relatives or friends.
The Zhuhai government imposed the 14-day hotel quarantine for arrivals from Macao on 26 September after the confirmation of the first two patients of the six-member Covid-19 cluster of quarantine hotel security staff the day before.
According to the new measure, the DSEDJ will arrange for those living in the Macao government-provided accommodation to go to the Pac On NAT station collectively to undergo their Covid-19 tests, after which the bureau will transport them to the Zhuhai-Macao checkpoint of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB).
Those not staying in government-provided accommodation need to go to the NAT stations for their tests, after which they are required to go to their respective schools, which will then transport them to the HZMB Zhuhai-Macao checkpoint.
After entering Zhuhai through the HZMB Zhuhai-Macao checkpoint, the cross-border students and their companions will be transported to one of the quarantine hotels in the neighbouring city, where they will have to undergo a follow-up Covid-19 NAT and wait for the results. If their tests come back negative, they will then be transported to their homes in Zhuhai for their 14-day home quarantine, reported The Macau Post Daily.