Local residents who work, study or live in Zhuhai can ask for quarantine exemption

The Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak said today that local residents who live, work or study in Zhuhai can apply for an exemption to the quarantine measures enforced by Guangdong authorities.

Guangdong authorities announced late last night that new border restrictions would be put in place on its Zhuhai borders by 6:00 am today, after which all arrivals from outside of mainland China including Macau and Hong Kong will have to be subject to a 14-day quarantine and coronavirus testing.

The Secretary clarified today that several categories of people will be excluded from the quarantine measures, namely, public contingency service personnel and merchants; drivers with dual licence plates from Guangdong and Macau or single license plate from Macau allowed to enter Hengqin, workers at the Guangdong-Macau Cooperation Industrial Park or at Macau companies in Hengqin and at the Zhuhai-Macau Cross-Border Industrial Park; plus certain workers who ensure the supply of essential goods and services to Hong Kong and Macau.

These workers will still have to pass nucleic acid testing and strict health management.

“There are strict relations between Macau and the rest of the Greater Bay Area. So in order to maintain the normal operations and cooperation between the two sides these [esemption’ measures were advanced,” the Secretary added.

Local residents who work, live and study in Zhuhai and who have obtained a residence permit in the city could also be exempted from the medical observation, in a measure covering about 6,600 people.

The Secretary noted it was hard to assess the exact number of people living in Zhuhai because many local residents have residences in the Chinese city but do not have a residence permit.

He also noted that daily some 30,000 cross the border every day to purchase essential goods.

Elderly people over 70 years of age, minors under 14 years of age, pregnant women, people with disabilities or serious illnesses, or health professionals who are required to travel to Zhuhai, can also be exempted.

Pregnant women and people with disabilities need to show a medical certificate authorised in Macau, at the border, while minors and elderly will see their age verified by their ID documents.

“First we need to know if they have a Zhuhai residence permit if they have they can be exempt but they will always have to request an exemption […] the request can be made at the border checkpoints with an immediate response if it was approved or not,” the Secretary added.

People will then have to sign a declaration saying they have no history of travel abroad or to Hong Kong and Taiwan, and have not shown symptoms such as fever, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat during the last 14 days before entry.

Applicants will also have to pass nucleic acid tests confirming they are not infected with Covid-19, with a negative test result valid for a period of seven days, after which a second test needs to be done.

The Secretary also indicated that, in principle, local non-permanent residence permit holders could also be covered by this exemption but that Chinese authorities could be “stricter” with “foreigners” since they would be considered to have more chances to have been in countries or regions with high numbers of Covid-19 cases.

However, the Secretary himself stated he would have to direct many of the resident’s doubts to Guangdong authorities for further clarifications.

The government representative also stated local authorities are not considering for now to implement similar measures towards Guangdong residents.

The Secretary admitted that local authorities were only notified of the decision Guangdong authorities, with exemption measures only provided afterwards.

Wong also noted that the government understood authorities in the Chinese province have to pass many steps and receive authorisations from Chinese top authorities before new border policies are implemented.

However, he revealed that at a meeting with the leaders of Guangdong province, the Macau Chief Executive expressed he hoped that any new measures could be disclosed with as much information as possible to Macau before their deployment.