macaupost

HK ‘explores travel bubble possibility’ with Macau: Ho

2021-05-04 15:34     Comment:0



Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng has confirmed that the Macau and Hong Kong governments are “exploring the possibility” of setting up a “travel bubble” arrangement between the two cities.

 

Ho made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Friday after attending a reception celebrating International Workers’ Day hosted by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (commonly known as Gung Luen) at The Plaza Restaurant in Zape.

 

Ho’s remarks came two days after his Hong Kong counterpart Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said during a brief Q&A session in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Wednesday last week that her government was studying how to form a“travel bubble” with Macau.

 

During last Wednesday’s Q&A session, Lam said that she “explored the possibility” of setting up a “travel bubble” arrangement between the two special administrative regions during a meeting with Ho on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia(BFA) conference in Hainan province – which was held earlier last month.

 Lam said that the “biggest problem” with setting up a “travel bubble” between the two cities would be ensuring that any Hongkongers who go to Macau do not also cross the border with the mainland without undergoing quarantine.

 

“The biggest problem is, as travel between Macau and the mainland has resumed almost completely [without having to undergo quarantine upon arrival in both regions],therefore we have to figure out a special arrangement which would enable Hongkongers to visit Macau without having to quarantine but can prevent them from entering the mainland via Macau. We are exploring this kind of special arrangement,” Lam told members of the Legislative Council on Wednesday last week.

 When asked by reporters on Friday about Lam’s Hong Kong-Macau “travel bubble” remarks, Ho confirmed that he had discussed the possible arrangement with Lam on the sidelines of last month’s Boao Forum for Asia conference.

 

However, Ho was quick to add that he reaffirmed during a Q&A session in the Macau Legislative Assembly (AL) earlier last month that Hong Kong would first need to have zero new local COVID-19 cases for a period of at least 14 consecutive days before the two sides could discuss any further steps towards implementing the“travel bubble” arrangement.

 

Ho said that Macau would continue to pay close attention to the novel coronavirus situation in Hong Kong. He said that the possible setting-up of a “travel bubble” between the two cities would “depend upon the latest development of Hong Kong’s COVID-19 epidemic situation”.

 

“Only after Hong Kong has zero new local COVID-19 cases for at least 14 consecutive days would there be the conditions and foundations for a discussion on the travel bubble arrangement between the two cities,” Ho said.

 

A few days before Lam’s remarks, Macau’s Health Bureau (SSM) reaffirmed that Macau could only create a travel bubble with a particular jurisdiction with a similar COVID-19 situation, and underlined that all over the world only the Chinese mainland has a COVID-19 situation similar to Macau’s.

 

Observers have noted that Macau set up a quasi-travel bubble with the mainland after the latter lifted its 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from Macau in August last year. Since then, those travelling between Macau and the mainland merely have to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days, without having to undergo quarantine upon their arrival in either region.

 

Meanwhile,Ho also said that the local government was aiming to set up an arrangement whereby people from the mainland or Macau, 14 days after having been fully (twice) vaccinated against COVID-19, would be able to travel between the two places without being required to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days. However, he stressed that such an arrangement would require the central government’s green light.

 Meanwhile, Ho also said that in the wake of “the COVID-19 danger in neighbouring regions”,the Macau government would now need to continue to assess the situation before deciding whether to go ahead with its previously-announced plan of allowing foreign nationals without a Macau ID card who have been hired as domestic helpers to enter Macau as long as they have received two COVID-19 jabs at least 14 days before their intended entry into Macau.


BACK HOME
MORE NEWS
COMMENT
Click refresh authentication code
TODAY'S COVER