Addressing Monday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus situation, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U announced that the central government will lift its 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from Macao from tomorrow – meaning that they can enter all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in the mainland without having to undergo quarantine from tomorrow.
Ao Ieong also announced that from tomorrow the mainland authorities will resume the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) and package tour permits for Zhuhai residents – those holding a Zhuhai ID card or residence permit – to travel to Macao.
According to official statistics, Zhuhai has a population of about 1.7 million.
Ao Ieong said that as Macao has been spared a COVID-19 community transmission it is a novel coronavirus low-risk area. She noted that Guangdong has lifted its quarantine for arrivals from Macao and its ban on Macao vehicles with a Guangdong-Macao dual licence plate from entering the province, and the operation of Macao’s civil society has gradually returned to normality, while the city’s COVID-19 prevention work has now become “routine”.
The policy secretary said that consequently, the Macao government has been constantly discussing with the central government the further restoration of travel between Macao and the mainland and the latter’s resumption of the issuing of mainlanders’ permits to travel to Macao on the mainland’s Individual Visit Scheme, before the State Council Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) notified the Macao government of the two new measures on Monday.
The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) also issued a statement about the central government’s mainland-wide lifting of its 14-day quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macao on Monday.
According to Ao Ieong, the lifting of the quarantine is applicable to all arrivals from Macao, except confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, those who have been in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients, those with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, and those who have been to Hong Kong, Taiwan or a foreign country within the 14 days prior to their intended entry into the mainland.
According to Ao Ieong, all those entering the mainland from Macao must present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days so that they will not need to undergo quarantine there.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U said that as the mainland authorities’ ban on foreign nationals from entering there still remains in force, tomorrow’s quarantine lifting for those entering the mainland from Macao is only applicable to those holding Home Return Permits, Chinese passports or other mainland travel documents, which means that foreign nationals holding a Macao ID card are not covered by the lifting of quarantine.
In addition to Macao residents and mainlanders, Hong Kong people and Taiwan people who live either in Macao or Guangdong and commute between the two regions are, however, covered by the quarantine lifting as they are not foreigners.
According to Ao Ieong, while those entering Guangdong from Macao can have their NAT certificate displayed on the Guangdong Health Code following a conversion from the Macao Health Code, those entering other provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities in the mainland by air will have to present a paper NAT certificate upon their arrival. Ao Ieong said that those who plan to travel to other provinces, regions or municipalities in the mainland can apply for a NAT certificate from the Health Bureau (SSM) with their air ticket.
Ao Ieong said that the mainland’s quarantine lifting for arrivals from Macao will be suspended if Macao’s COVID-19 epidemic rebounds – i.e. if Macao is classified by the mainland authorities as a COVID-19 medium-risk or high-risk area, meaning that the 14-day quarantine will be imposed on Macao arrivals entering the mainland again. The quarantine for Macao arrivals would only be lifted after Macao has become a COVID-19 low-risk area again.
Health Bureau Director Lei Chin Ion said that in the mainland, a particular area will be classified as a COVID-19 medium-risk area if a local COVID-19 case has been confirmed there, while the area will be classified as a COVID-19 high-risk area if more than 10 local COVID-19 cases have been confirmed there. Lei said that Macao will also adopt this mechanism, meaning that the 14-day quarantine will be imposed on Macao arrivals entering the mainland again if Macao has confirmed a local COVID-19 case.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
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