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Macao awaits mainland decision on quarantine-free travel

Officials hopeful that travel within the Greater Bay Area will be relaxed shortly, but as yet make no firm undertakings.

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Officials hopeful that travel within the Greater Bay Area will be relaxed shortly, but as yet make no firm undertakings.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

Macao cannot set a starting date for quarantine-free travel arrangements for arrivals from Hong Kong unless the mainland relaxes its own quarantine regulations, Leong Iek Hou, the Health Bureau (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator, has said.

Leong reaffirmed that Macao can only adjust its regulations once the mainland lifts its quarantine for those arriving from Hong Kong – meaning that new rules would have to be implemented between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao at the same time, as Covid-19 measures carried out in the three regions must be “highly consistent with each other”.

Currently, those travelling between the mainland and Macao do not need to quarantine upon arrival at either side, and they are just required to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming a negative Covid-19 result valid for seven days.

Arrivals from Hong Kong must undergo 14 days’ hotel quarantine having entered the mainland or Macao.

Currently, Hong Kong residents returning from the mainland or Macao can apply online to be exempted from the Hong Kong government’s quarantine requirement under the Return2hk Scheme. In addition, non-Hong Kong residents coming from Guangdong or Macao can also apply to be exempted from Hong Kong’s quarantine requirement under the Come2hk Scheme.

The Hong Kong government has been working over recent months to ensure that its entry, quarantine and various other Covid-19 measures are carried out in coordination with the mainland, in a bid to persuade mainland authorities to lift their mandatory quarantine for arrivals from Hong Kong.

“Covid-19 measures in the three regions must be highly consistent with each other, so the quarantine-free travel between Macao and the mainland can continue to be implemented smoothly,” Leong said.

Leong also said that the Macao government’s quarantine-free travel arrangements for arrivals from Hong Kong would only be implemented for those in urgent need at first, such as those who need to visit patients and those who need to visit their family members or relatives.

Leong added that if the mainland requires those arriving from Hong Kong to have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 for them benefit from its quarantine lifting, the Macao government’s quarantine exemption for arrivals from Hong Kong would also only cover those who have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus “because Covid-19 measures in the three regions must be consistent with each other”.

Leong also said that quarantine-free travel between Macao and the mainland would possibly require Covid-19 vaccinations “in the long term”, because quarantine-free travel arrangements between different regions worldwide normally also require the travellers to have been fully inoculated against the novel coronavirus, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

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