After negotiations with Singapore Airlines Group, the government announced yesterday that deals have been made with the airline company and its subsidiary, Scoot Airlines, to help with transiting Macau residents returning home.
As summer holiday is around the corner, the local government is expecting a significant number of residents currently abroad to come home.
Previously, most returning Macau residents would opt for Taipei as a transit point. With Taiwan tightening its preventive measures, among which being the suspension of transit at the Taoyuan International Airport, it has become more difficult for Macau residents to get home.
Yesterday, it was announced by Lao Fong Chi, head of the Department of Communications and External Relations, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), that a deal has been made between the Civil Aviation Authority of Macao and the airline group.
The core part of the deal is that Singapore Airlines will update its website to facilitate purchases of flight tickets from overseas origins to Macau with a final stopover in Singapore.
It means that residents hoping to return to Macau taking this route can buy tickets directly on the website of Singapore Airlines.
Although a deal is made, it is not a government-led operation. Ticketing affairs must be handled by the travelers themselves.
Lao added that the airline has agreed to operate two flights weekly between Macau and Singapore, which will be handled by Scoot, the group’s low-cost carrier brand.
The special arrangement will not be one-way, according to Lao. “Singapore Airlines has updated its booking website to allow flights in and out of Macau with transit in Singapore,” she said.
She stressed that interested travelers should approach the airline company directly should they have any enquiries.
SSM: Citywide pcr test possible
The SSM hinted that if the case continues to deteriorate, a citywide polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test initiative may be possible. “Such possibility cannot be ruled out,” Alvis Lo, director of the SSM said.
Should the citywide test be needed, according to Lo, it can be done within four days with about 30 sample collection stations. The official clarified that he was speaking about finishing the test at the promptest pace.
When it comes to citywide PCR test, in order to avoid crowd gathering, the test may not be run at the promptest pace.
During this imagined situation, the SSM director said that vaccination will be halted in order to facilitate the citywide PCR test.
The SSM director also noted yesterday, following an earlier statement, that in the future vaccination may become a mandatory element to facilitate border crossing between Macau and mainland China.
Again, the medical doctor said it was too early to confirm any details, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.
PCR requirements on entrants from Guangdong tightened
At the same press conference, the Health Bureau (SSM) recapped, following an earlier press announcement yesterday, that entrants from Guangdong Province of China will be required to bear negative SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results issued within two days.
The bureau clarified that the actual validity of the PCR test result is counted from the next day of the sample collection date, regardless of the time at which the sample was collected. For example, if the sample is collected today, the test result will be valid for border crossings between Macau and Guangdong on June 8 and 9.
Before this change, each test was valid for seven days for border crossings between Macau and Mainland China. Actually, the test validity for travels between Macau and other provinces, which normally takes air routes, remains unchanged.
There is also a huge gap between the test fee in Macau is MOP90 and that in mainland China 20 Chinese yuan.
Certain members of the public raised concerns that it may cause extra burden on non-resident workers, local teachers and students who live on the mainland.
The Education and Youth Development Bureau (DSEDJ) issued a press release last night, stressing that PCR tests for cross border students and teachers – a total of 3,100 individuals – have been free-of-charge since April last year.
The DSEDJ added that with the validity of PCR test for use between Guangdong and Macau shortened, the DSEDJ will continue to bear the costs for PCR test for this group of teachers and students.
This group of individuals will be tested every two weekdays in Macau, while on Saturdays they will take the test in Zhuhai.
Moreover, the DSEDJ encourages these teachers and students to, at their best ability, remain in Macau. Kong Chi Meng, vice director of the DSEDJ, said yesterday that should the need for temporary accommodations arise, the bureau will have the ability to arrange youth hostels.
DSEDJ: Possibility of school suspension
The DSEDJ yesterday has also hinted on the possibility of school suspension, but Kong stressed that if it happens, schools, teachers, parents and students will have lessons learned from last year. Contingencies have also been prepared in case another round of school suspension is needed. Al