Certain foreigners from mainland to be exempted from entry ban: govt

2020-11-10 03:48     Comment:1

Addressing yesterday’s weekly press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou announced that certain foreigners, such as non-resident workers, the spouses or offspring of a Macau resident, or those who have been admitted to local higher education institutions, can now apply for exemptions from the Macau government’s months-long ban on foreign nationals entering Macau, provided that they enter the city from the Chinese mainland.

The new measure was also promulgated by an executive order signed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and published in the Official Gazette (BO) yesterday.

The potential beneficiaries can now submit an application to the Health Bureau (SSM) for the new measure, which will take effect on December 1.

Foreign visitors have been barred from entering Macau since March 18, and the entry ban was extended to foreign non-resident workers the next day. However, foreign nationals holding a Macau ID card are allowed to enter Macau. This means that all foreign nationals without a Macau ID card are currently barred from entering the city, regardless of where they have been before their intended entry into Macau.

The two executive orders signed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng in March about the entry ban on foreign visitors and foreign non-resident workers state that in the public interest, particularly for the prevention, control and treatment of diseases, aid and emergency measures, and with the aim of ensuring Macau’s normal operation and the provision of daily necessities for residents, Macau’s health authorities can in exceptional cases exempt foreign nationals from the entry ban.

The Health Bureau said early this month that since March it has exempted certain groups of foreigners from the entry ban in the public interest in line with the two chief executive orders, such as crew members of airlines, diplomats and their family members, senior management staff members of local higher education institutions, those living in the mainland but having to travel to Macau for important meetings, and persons who are “very important” to Macau’s economic recovery such as those involved in the upcoming Macau Grand Prix (MGP). All those foreigners who have been exempted from the entry ban have been subject to Macau’s 14-day quarantine requirement, the bureau said earlier this month.

The Health Bureau first revealed last week that the Macau government was considering further exemptions from the current entry ban for more foreigners in special circumstances, such as those visiting family members who are Macau residents or those with “important” links to Macau.

During yesterday’s press conference, Leong said that in certain circumstances foreign nationals without a Macau ID card who intend to enter Macau from the mainland can now apply for exemption from the Macau government’s current entry ban on foreigners, as long as they have been staying in the mainland for at least 14 days.

5 categories

According to Leong, the new measure will cover 1) the spouse or offspring of a Macau resident, 2) non-resident workers (blue-card holders) or those who have obtained an official permit to work in Macau as a non-resident worker, and their family members who have obtained or are eligible to obtain a permit to stay in Macau, 3) those who have obtained a special permit to reside in Macau, 4) those who have been admitted to local higher education institutions, and 5) those visiting Macau for important commercial, academic or other professional activities.

For the first category of beneficiaries, the applications will have to be submitted by the Macau residents.

The application, free of charge, can be made by email, letter, or in person – by visiting the office of the bureau’s Disease Prevention and Control Centre in Hotline Centre in Nape.

The applicants will have to submit official documents proving that they have stayed in the mainland for at least 14 days, according to Leong.

The Health Bureau will notify the applicants within 15 working days whether it has approved their applications, Leong said.

According to Leong, the applicants allowed to enter Macau from the mainland will not have to undergo Macau’s 14-day quarantine but have to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days upon their arrival here.

Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, said during yesterday’s press conference that the local government has decided to announce the new measure in advance despite the commencement of its implementation on December 1, with the aim of enabling them to get a better understanding of the new measure and to file their applications in advance.

Macau has not recorded a new COVID-19 case for 136 days, while no local case has been confirmed in 225 days.

Meanwhile, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre will not hold its weekly press conference next Monday as Ho will deliver his 2021 Policy Address to the Legislative Assembly (AL) that day.

Relaxed measures for elderly care home visits

Meanwhile, Choi Sio Un, who heads the Social Solidarity Department of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), announced during yesterday’s press conference that his bureau will relax the arrangements for family members to visit their loved in the city’s elderly care homes from tomorrow, after consulting opinions from the Health Bureau.

According to Choi, family members will be allowed to visit their infirm relatives in their elderly care home bedrooms. Currently – before tomorrow’s new measure, the elderly care homes could only arrange family members to meet their infirm relatives unable to leave their bedroom by online video only.

According to the new measure, up to two family members will be allowed to enter each user’s bedroom where they can stay for up to one hour, Choi said.

Choi said that the family members who visit the elderly care homes must stick to a raft of COVID-19 prevention measures, according to which they must present a green Macau Health Code and undergo a temperature check before entering the premises. They must wear a facemask the whole time during their stay there.

According to Choi, the family members should avoid contact with other users in the elderly care homes. They should refrain from eating as this would require them to doff their facemasks. Those who need to eat due to health reasons can only eat in designated areas after approval from the elderly care homes, Choi said.

Alvis Lo Iek Long (centre), one of the three clinical directors of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, speaks during yesterday’s press conference about the city’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, as Health Bureau (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou (right) and Choi Sio Un, who heads the Social Welfare Bureau’s (IAS) Social Solidarity Department, look on. Photo: Tony Wong

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  • visitors2020111620:582020-11-16 20:58

    Of course foreigners cannot enter China making this gesture useless and false