Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng underlined on Sunday that for the time being, the Macao government will not discuss with any countries and regions the possible setting-up of travel bubbles. Ho’s remarks on the matter came after Hong Kong and Singapore agreed last week to set up a travel bubble so that residents can fly between the two places without having to be quarantined.
Ho underlined that the COVID-19 pandemic is still serious, pointing out that many European countries recently had to re-impose strict COVID-19 control measures, adding that allowing visitors from foreign countries to enter Macao would put great pressure on the city’s COVID-19 prevention work.
Ho said that to ensure Macao residents’ health and safety, the local government would have to “cautiously” consider the travel bubble matter.
Observers have noted that Macao has created a quasi-travel bubble with the mainland after the latter lifted its 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from Macao in August.
Meanwhile, Ho also said that the possible relaxation of the validity of a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate issued to those travelling between Macao and the mainland from the current seven days to 14 days would need a “very cautious and careful” study, particularly considering that Qingdao and Guangzhou have both recently confirmed new local COVID-19 cases.
Ho said that a seven-day validity has been justified scientifically, while there are no scientific grounds to endorse a 14-day validity. Ho said that a 14-day validity of NAT certificates for travellers would only be feasible after the National Health Commission (NHC) determines that it is justified scientifically.