Several restrictions on travel between Macao and Mainland China were relaxed in July, as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic remains under control on both sides of the border. However, restrictions on travel from Hong Kong have been enhanced because of the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases there.
Starting from 29 July, authorities in Guangdong Province began allowing quarantine-free inbound travel to any part of the province for people arriving from Macao, provided they have a certificate showing they have a recent negative nucleic acid test result for COVID-19. Introduced on July 15, an initial relaxation of a 14-day quarantine rule for inbound travel to Guangdong applied for inbound travel to the nine Guangdong cities included in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
In addition, authorised users of private vehicles registered for Macao-Guangdong cross-boundary travel – i.e. vehicles with twin licence plates – are again allowed to use them for travel between the two places, under a specific quota initiative launched on 24 July.
The decision to change the rules on travel was taken after discussions between the authorities in Macao and Guangdong, in accordance with the directives of the Central People’s Government on the need to keep up the effort to control the spread of COVID-19 while pressing on with the resumption of socio-economic development.
People crossing into or out of Macao from Guangdong – either on foot or inside a private vehicle – must show a valid certificate of the result of a nucleic acid test, issued in the preceding seven days by a recognised institution, proving they are free of COVID-19 infection. Travellers must also have a valid “green” code result given by the Macao Health Code system and the Guangdong health declaration system.
Travellers must submit to 14 days of quarantine on entering Guangdong if they are: confirmed COVID-19 patients; suspected of having been infected with the novel coronavirus; have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient; have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness; or have stayed anywhere other than Macao in the preceding 14 days.
Additionally, people arriving in Macao from Beijing no longer have to serve a 14-day quarantine if they have been in Beijing for the preceding two weeks. The requirement was dropped in July after its introduction on 17 June in response to new COVID-19 outbreaks in some parts of Beijing. A similar restriction was in place for people arriving in Macao from the province of Hubei, and was also lifted last month.
Although restrictions on travel between Macao and Mainland China have been relaxed, the authorities in Mainland China are maintaining their suspension of the issuance of visas for Mainland Chinese to travel to Macao, either as individual visitors or as members of tour groups.
In the meantime, Macao’s boundaries remain closed to visitors from foreign countries. Separately, some conditions may apply for other entrants. Visitors from Mainland China, Hong Kong or the Taiwan region who have visited a foreign country 14 days prior to arriving in Macao, are barred from entering Macao. Those using either Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan region documents to travel, and who have visited Hong Kong or the Taiwan region 14 days prior to arriving in Macao, must hold a certificate showing a negative result for a COVID-19 nucleic acid test – issued within the previous seven days – and will need to go to designated places for a 14-day period of medical observation.
Visitors using either Mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan region documents to travel, and who have neither visited a foreign country, nor visited Hong Kong nor visited the Taiwan region 14 days prior to arriving in Macao, must hold either a certificate showing a negative result for a COVID-19 nucleic acid test issued within the previous seven days, but do not need to undergo medical observation on arrival.
In tandem with the easing of cross-boundary restrictions between Macao and Mainland China, new rules were also announced in July for anyone entering a casino in Macao: these people must show a valid certificate of the result of a nucleic acid test proving they are free of COVID-19 infection. MGTO has also issued reminders to integrated resorts, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars and other businesses licensed by the Office, regarding the need to follow the Heath Bureau’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines. The guidance includes requiring each patron to use a protective face mask, to have their temperature taken and to show a valid Macao Health Code result.
The Macao SAR Government also has requested casino operators ensure good air quality in their premises.
Since 14 July, travellers wishing to board a vessel or flight departing from Macao have been required to show a valid certificate of the result of a nucleic acid test. This requirement helps protect the crew and other passengers from COVID-19. A similar requirement for travellers arriving in Macao by air was already in force.
The Macao authorities are paying close attention to the rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in Hong Kong, which was detected in July. The institutions concerned remain vigilant, watching the latest developments in Hong Kong and assessing any threat to Macao those developments might pose.
People arriving in Macao via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge must now show a certificate proving they are free of COVID-19 infection, if their journey began in Hong Kong. Those that fail to do so may be refused entry to Macao. Travellers arriving in Macao from Hong Kong are still required to submit to 14 days of quarantine in a designated hotel. There is still relatively little travel between Macao and Hong Kong.
Since January, 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in Macao, with no reports of infection since 26 June. All the COVID-19 patients recovered and were discharged from hospital.