From 8 May, travellers to Macao who are required to undergo hotel quarantine upon arrival must pay for all compulsory Covid-19 nucleic acid tests (NATs), the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has announced.
Currently, only Macao residents do not need to pay for their first-time stay for Covid-19 medical observation at quarantine hotels after returning to Macao. However, only those meeting certain criteria are eligible for exemption from payment.
Arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan or foreign countries must undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine, while travellers from areas affected by Covid-19 in mainland China are required to undergo hotel quarantine for a period of between 7 and 14 days.
The new measure, which will take effect from first thing on 8 May, aims to enable the government to make better use of its financial resources.
NATs carried out for those undergoing hotel quarantine are currently conducted by a private testing institution commissioned by the Health Bureau. As staff members of the testing institution have to collect swabs on-site from those undergoing hotel quarantine, each NAT costs MOP 250.
Arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan or foreign countries, who are required to undergo eight NATs during their hotel quarantine period, will have to pay MOP 2,000, while arrivals areas affected by Covid-19 in mainland China, who are required to undergo five tests during their quarantine period, will have to pay MOP 1,250.
The centre said that the government decided to charge quarantinees for the NATs because it should be the testees who pay for the service, not the government, as it was their own decision to travel outside Macao, The Macau Post Daily reported.