(Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)

Gov’t further tightens entry restrictions

Health authorities announced today (Tuesday) that entry restrictions will be further tightened for residents from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and for foreign nationals covered by a previous entry exemption policy.

Starting from midnight of December 23 residents from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have been to any country or region outside Greater China to not be allowed entry in the city, a special Chief Executive dispatch published today reveals.

The new measure maintains the possibility of exemptions due to public interest, namely the prevention, control and treatment of disease, relief and emergency, and in exceptional cases of maintaining the normal functioning of the city or the basic living needs of residents.

The announcement comes after local authorities yesterday had already announced stricter health requirements on people arriving in the city, mandating that since November 21, people visiting Macau from most locations – except those coming from the mainland or Taiwan – will be required to undergo a 21-day medical observation upon arrival versus the previously mandated 14 days.

The measures follow an outbreak of a new more virulent strain of the novel coronavirus reported in the United Kingdom – said to be 70 per cent more transmissible – and with some cases of positive nucleic acid tests being reported after the usual 14-day quarantine period.

Another Chief Executive dispatch issued today (Tuesday) also tightens requirements for people covered by a recent policy allowing for foreign nationals – who are not Mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong residents – to apply for an entry exemption in special cases and if they come from Mainland China.

While previously the exemption was granted to foreign nationals who had remained for at least 14 days in Mainland China, that time requirement will now be increased to 21 days.

Possible exemptions are granted to foreign nationals who:

  • are either a spouse or child of a Macau ID holder;
  • have either registered with the authorities as a non-resident worker, or hold a permit to enter Macao for work purposes, or they are a family member of such a worker, and have either obtained the relevant authorisation or meet the eligibility requirements to stay in Macau;
  • have obtained authorisation to stay in Macau;
  • are students registered to local higher education institutions;
  • plan to visit Macau for an important business event; or for academic or professional activities.