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‘First-come, first-served’ quotas likely for Macao-Hong Kong quarantine-free travel

System awaits approval, but double-vaccinated travellers could get the green light within a week. Priority given to those with urgent personal or medical needs.

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System awaits approval, but double-vaccinated travellers could get the green light within a week. Priority given to those with urgent personal or medical needs.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

Hopes for an early end to quarantine travel restrictions between Macao and Hong Kong have been raised after Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U indicated a first-come, first-served quota system could be introduced soon.

Ao said that once Hong Kong and the mainland had clarified customs clearance details, Macao would be able to make its own arrangements with its Greater Bay Area neighbour.

Travellers will still need to wait 14 days after their second Covid-19 jab and take a nucleic acid test.

“A quota will be set and initially it is hoped [travellers can] register online on a first-come, first-served basis. After the trial, if conditions permit, the quota will be gradually increased,” said Ao, who made her announcement following a ceremony celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

The decision on whether to reopen the borders remains with Beijing, where officials are believed to be keeping a close eye on Guangdong province which suffered a recent uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Assuming quarantine restrictions are lifted, officials have indicated that the number of travellers permitted between Macao and Hong Kong will depend on the numbers between Hong Kong and the mainland, which it has been suggested may be as high as 3,000 a day. Restrictions may be lifted within the next week.

Ao said that initially permission to travel would be allotted to people claiming medical or personal reasons, such as attending a funeral. She urged residents to hold back from applying – once the system is set up – if they did not fit in either category.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

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