Macau considering easing of entry restrictions from mainland China

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The Macau SAR government is considering easing entry restrictions for visitors from mainland China but may escalate bans on those from Europe, the Health Bureau said on Wednesday.

It is now 36 days since Macau recorded a new case of COVID-19, while the neighboring Chinese city of Zhuhai has reached 21 days without any cases, with all patients now discharged. Likewise, no new cases have been found within Guangdong province although sporadic imported cases from foreign countries have been reported in recent days.

“The current situation of COVID-19 in mainland China is easing, infection numbers in many provinces and cities have not increased for many days, so we are evaluating the current policies towards mainland China,” a Health Bureau spokesperson stated at a press conference on Wednesday in what looms as a hugely promising sign for Macau’s gaming and hospitality operators.

“However, regarding the current situation of the epidemic in European countries, we are considering placing more European countries on the high-risk areas list. We will announce the latest measures soon.”

The Tourism Crisis Management Office has already added Germany, France, Spain and Japan to its Second Level of travel alert alongside Italy, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt, urging residents to avoid travel to those countries.

Likewise, seven countries – South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, France, Spain and Germany – are on the SAR government’s list of “high-risk areas” with all arrivals required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. As of 11 March, 80 people are quarantined, of which 54 local residents are staying home and 26 tourists and residents in appointed hotels.

Since 20 February, non-resident workers from mainland China have been required to enter quarantine in Zhuhai for 14 days before returning to Macau for work. China has also cancelled the issuance of Individual Visitor Scheme and group visas, a measure that has seen visitation to Macau plummet.