The Public Security Police (PSP) announced in a statement on Tuesday that they recorded 5.917 million visitor arrivals last year, an 85 per cent drop from 2019.
The police recorded 69.55 million entries and exits by locals and visitors at the city’s border checkpoints last year, a 64.2 per cent decrease from 2019, the statement said.
The statement said that for last year the police recorded the highest number of entries and exits on 18 January at 638,284, the highest entries and exits a day last year.
The number of entries and exits at the city’s checkpoints had “quickly” dropped since late January last year due to the implementation of COVID-19 border entry curbs, before the number started to recover in May with the gradual resumption of travel between Macao and Zhuhai.
Macao recorded its first COVID-19 case on 22 January last year.
Macao’s immigration service is run by the Public Security Police.
“When the COVID-19 epidemic in Macao and neighbouring regions became serious in late January, the Public Security Police immediately rolled out COVID-19 measures [at the city’s border checkpoints] in line with the Macao government’s COVID-19 prevention work,” the statement said.
The mainland authorities suspended the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) and group tour permits on January 29 for mainlanders to travel to Hong Kong and Macao. Foreign nationals without a Macao ID card have been barred from entering Macao since 18 March, the statement noted.
After Guangdong imposed quarantine for arrivals from Macao on 27 March, the number of entries and exits at Macao’s border checkpoints “hit a record low” of 3,794 the next day.
According to the statement the police recorded only 427,000 entries and exits at the city’s checkpoints in April, a 97.4 per cent year-on-year decline.
The statement also said that the police only recorded 233 visitor arrivals on 29 March last year, in contrast to the average number of visitor arrivals of over 107,000 per day in 2019.
‘Joint effort by residents & government’
The statement said that Macao’s COVID-19 prevention measures have been effective in bringing COVID-19 under control thanks to the joint effort by residents and the government. Macao’s schools resumed in-class teaching in phases from 4 May.
The Macao Health Code and the Guangdong Health Code have been mutually recognised since 11 May, when Macao and Zhuhai began to mutually recognise each other’s nucleic acid test (NAT) results, allowing the gradual relaxation of border entry curb measures between the two cities. The quarantine requirement imposed on non-resident workers from the mainland was first jointly relaxed by the Zhuhai and Macao governments on that day, when non-resident workers holding a Zhuhai ID card or residence permit began to be exempted from the quarantine measure so that they can commute between the two cities, the statement noted.
The quarantine requirement was later lifted for all non-resident workers from the mainland on 19 July.
Guangdong lifted its quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macao on 15 July. The relaxation of border entry curbs between Guangdong and Macao “caused the number of [Macao’s] entries and exits to recover, on average, to” 142,000 per day in July, the statement said.
“The joint COVID-19 prevention and control work by the Zhuhai and Macao governments have successfully created the conditions for the resumption of people moving between the two cities,” the statement said.
The whole mainland lifted its quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macao on 12 August.
The issuing of Individual Visit Scheme and group tour permits for Zhuhai residents also resumed on 12 August, after which the resumption was extended to all Guangdong residents on 26 August. The issuing of the travel permits for all mainlanders finally resumed on 23 September, which the statement said boosted the recovery of the number of visitor arrivals to Macao.
The average number of visitor arrivals recovered to over 7,300 per day in August.
The statement said that the average number of Macao’s entries and exits recovered to 299,000 per day last month, a 44.9 per cent year-on-year decrease, while the number of visitor arrivals per day, on average, stood at around 21,000, a 78.5 per cent year-on-year per cent drop.
The police recorded 30,796 visitor arrivals on New Year’s Eve, while the number of entries and exits stood at 340,019 on 20 November, both setting daily records since the implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures in Macao early last year.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Public Security Police (PSP)