Portuguese students in Macau looking to return for higher education

At least two dozen students in Macau are waiting to find out how they can leave the SAR in order to attend higher studies in Portugal, with some having contacted the consulate with requests for information, the Consul-General for Macau and Hong Kong told Lusa.

“We are aware of about 20 cases communicated to us by the Portuguese School of Macau,” said Portugal’s consul general, Paulo Cunha Alves, noting however that “it is difficult to estimate” the total number of students affected travel restrictions imposed in the territory due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the diplomat, “some requests for information” from students have come to the consulate at a time when authorities in the Macau SAR announced that a maritime corridor with Hong Kong is unlikely to reopen, where most international flights depart.

“We are in contact with the MSAR authorities to raise awareness of the issue, although there are other possibilities, such as fulfilling the quarantine in Hong Kong before traveling to Europe or trying to make air connections via Taipei [Taiwan’s capital] or Seoul [capital of South Korea], from the Macau international airport “, said Alves.

The Macau authorities announced yesterday (Monday) that they are negotiating an increase in air connections with Europe and the United States to respond to students in this situation.

“Given the fact that some students need to go abroad to continue their studies, after the summer holidays, after negotiations with the airline industry …, an increase in the frequency of flights to Europe is scheduled and the United States, with stopovers made in Taipei or Seoul, at the end of August and beginning of September “, health authorities indicated.

In the past few days, the Macau authorities have received “30 requests [for information] from students”.

Macau also announced new restrictions on entry into the territory, imposing mandatory quarantine on travelers from two Chinese provinces affected by new outbreaks of covid-19.

The two-week medical observation now applies to anyone who has been in Xinjiang and Liaoning in the past 14 days, at a time when those two Chinese regions are experiencing covid-19 outbreaks.

“In view of the epidemic situation in Xinjiang and Liaoning, we will consider them [as] high-risk territories,” the authorities announced. “This means that people who have traveled to these two places must undergo 14 days medical observation,” they said.

China registered 43 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, 28 of which were local contagions in western Xinjiang, where an outbreak emerged three weeks ago, as well as eight in Liaoning, northeast China’s province, the other active outbreak in the country, from according to the most recent balance sheet.

The Macau authorities also announced the strengthening of restrictions on people from Hong Kong, due to the new outbreak in the territory. In addition to the mandatory quarantine, which was already in effect, as of Wednesday “all individuals [from that territory] must present a negative nucleic acid test emitted in the previous 72 hours”.

Macau does not currently have any active cases of Covid-19 and has not reported any deaths related to the disease.