Starting from midnight today (May 5), non-local residents will no longer be required to stay in China for at least 21 consecutive days before being granted entry permission to return to Macau.
The relaxed cross-border regulation for foreigners was unveiled by Leong Iek Hou, coordinator at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a Covid-19 media briefing yesterday.
However, the relaxed scheme is only applicable to non-local residents who have stayed in either Macau and China over the past three weeks and have a special need to return to Macau, including family reunions, or other exceptional situations involving strong ties to Macau.
“The objective of the new measure is to offer greater convenience to and expedite the cross-border travel for foreigners residing in Macau,” Leong said.
Before this new measure, non-local residents — who hold a travel visa to China issued by the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macau SAR, and have traveled to China from Macau — are obliged to stay in the mainland for a minimum of 21 consecutive days before returning to Macau.
As of now, the loosened entry regulation will enable non-local residents to return to Macau from China whenever they want, as long as they seek approval from the Health Bureau (SSM), Leong explained.
To facilitate such a type of request, the SSM established a new online registration system, titled “Foreigner Entry Application System,” by which interested and eligible individuals may apply.
When asked about the possibility of extending the scheme to foreigners who are currently outside Macau and China, Leong said that the SSM would continue to closely monitor the coronavirus situation in other countries and regions and carry out “appropriate modifications” if possible.
“But we have still observed that the pandemic situation in many foreign countries and regions is still critical,” she added.
Of note is the fact that the exemption given to those with resident status in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan remains unchanged, meaning that they continue to travel between China and Macau without being subject to staying in China for a designated period.
Health Bureau to use other languages on anti-pandemic promotion
The government will maintain a closer partnership with local consulates to step up its promotional efforts regarding social-distancing guidance, targeting foreigners in Macau who speak non-official languages, said coordinator at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Leong Iek Hou yesterday.
Her reply was made in response to an announcement released on May 2 by the center, stating that a local alliance was found to have convened a gathering that violated social-distancing measures, with participants not wearing masks.
Leong clarified that the alliance was established by the Vietnamese Consulate. The concerned gathering was held during the May Day holiday, with fewer than 300 participants.
The organizers said in their defence that the participants did not understand the regulations stipulated by the Health Bureau written in Chinese, English and Portuguese.
Leong said the government will communicate social-distancing messages in other languages to serve ethnic minorities in Macau.