The Macao government will exempt from today all Macao non-resident workers living in Zhuhai from the current 14-day quarantine imposed on non-resident workers from the mainland, according to an executive order signed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and published in the Official Gazette (BO) on Friday.
According to Friday’s executive order, the non-resident workers must obtain an official confirmation from the Zhuhai authorities that they have their habitual residence there so that they can benefit from the new quarantine waiver. They also have to show a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate proving that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days – or indicating that they have had their sample collected – and their green Macao Health Code, when crossing the Macao-Zhuhai border, according to the executive order.
The local government has pointed out that a NAT certificate merely indicating that the holder has had their sample collected is only valid for them to cross the Macao-Zhuhai border if their sample had been collected at least 24 hours before.
From 6 a.m. today
The new exemption measure takes effect at 6 a.m. today.
Since February 20, non-resident workers who have been in the mainland within 14 days prior to their intended entry into Macao have had to go into quarantine and medical observation for 14 days at a facility in Zhuhai arranged by the health authorities there and then obtain a health certificate issued by the Zhuhai health authorities confirming that they have not been infected with the novel coronavirus disease before they are allowed to enter Macao. The 14-day quarantine measure for mainland non-resident workers by the Macao government is carried out in collaboration with its Zhuhai counterpart.
All travellers arriving in Guangdong from overseas as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have had to undergo 14 days of “concentrated” quarantine there since March 27. Certain groups of Macao-Zhuhai cross-border commuters are currently exempted from the 14-day quarantine measure carried out by the Zhuhai government, such as Macao people who live in Zhuhai but work in Macao (with a Zhuhai residence permit) and Macao pupils and teachers who live in Zhuhai.
Foreign visitors have been barred from entering Macao since March 18, and the entry ban was extended to cover all foreign nationals – including foreign non-resident workers – the following day.
The 14-day quarantine requirement imposed on mainland non-resident workers was first jointly relaxed by the Zhuhai and Macao governments on May 11. Since then non-resident workers holding a Zhuhai ID card or residence permit have been exempted from the quarantine measure so that they can commute between the two cities. The local government has said that some 20,000 non-resident workers are covered by the May 11 quarantine exemption.
According to data from the Macao Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), at the end of April, the number of non-resident workers stood at 188,918, of whom 114,855 (60.8 per cent of the total number) were mainlanders.
In order to avoid the 14 days quarantine required by the Macao government, a large number of non-resident workers who live in Zhuhai moved to Macao to live here temporarily shortly before the implementation of the measure on February 20, according to local media reports. Before the February 20 quarantine measure, tens of thousands of mainland non-resident workers employed in Macao lived in Zhuhai, but many of them reportedly did not have a Zhuhai ID card or residence permit.
Today’s measure means that the quarantine exemption granted to mainland non-resident workers employed in Macao is now extended to all those living in Zhuhai and commuting between the two cities – provided that they can prove their habitual residence status there.