The Macao government announced today a month-long special ferry link between Macao’s Pac On Ferry Terminal and the Hong Kong International Airport’s SkyPier.
The link, which will run between next Wednesday and July 16, was announced by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U at the daily conference of the government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.
According to the announcement, the link will enable Macao residents to return home via the restricted area of the Hong Kong airport without having to undergo Hong Kong’s two-week mandatory anti-COVID-19 quarantine.
Officials at the press conference said that more than 700 Macao residents were planning to return to Macao.
The link will also enable foreign residents currently in Macao to return to their home countries via Hong Kong’s airport without having to go through the two-week mandatory quarantine in Hong Kong.
Informed sources have told the Macau Post Daily that “hundreds” of foreign nationals, mostly non-resident workers from Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam have been stuck in Macao for weeks or even months because of a string of travel restrictions imposed by various countries in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
There will be two ferry trips per day between Macao and the Hong Kong ferry pier. A one-way ticket will cost HK$270 (US$35), the officials said.
Those arriving in Macao from foreign countries via the special ferry link will have to undergo 14-days of mandatory quarantine at a government-designated hotel, which is free of charge for local residents. Foreign nationals are still barred from entering Macao.
Meanwhile, the officials on Wednesday also announced the easing of travel curbs between Macao and Zhuhai.
No new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Macao for 64 days. Macao’s 45 novel coronavirus disease patients have all been discharged. All the cases were classified by the Macao Health Bureau (SSM) as imported or “connected to imported cases.” Unlike Hong Kong, Macao has been spared a COVID-19 community outbreak.
Meanwhile, the government’s 15th round of facemasks sales to residents and non-resident workers begins tomorrow. Each round lasts 10 days. Both residents and non-resident workers are entitled to buy 10 facemasks at the fixed price of MOP 8 (US$1) each time. Facemasks are also widely available in the private market at commercial prices.
Close to 100 per cent of people in Macao have been wearing facemasks when out and about since late January. Facemasks are mandatory on public transport and for entering public administration premises and casinos.
Macao’s economy has been severely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.