A letter requesting the Macau government help local students to return to overseas universities this September was intended only to inform the authorities of how many students are affected, according to a representative contacted by Macau Daily Times, and not to petition the government into acting.
The representative, a Macau-based parent who requested to remain anonymous, said that the list contains the names of about 80 students from different schools across Macau.
“We sent the names and number of students to the government in the letter, to help them to be more informed of the situation,” said the representative, whose daughter studies at a European university institution.
Contrary to some media reports, the group does not expect a flight to be arranged for them. Rather, “we are asking for alternative travel arrangements, so that our children can return to their studies. Not all classes can be held online all of the time.”
The students are a mix of university and high school level students, mostly studying at institutions in Portugal and the U.K., although some are in other European countries and North America. The majority of them are returning students, however some are expecting to leave for their first year of studies abroad, according to the representative.
The special ferry link to the Hong Kong International Airport, which would allow the students to board a Hong Kong flight bound for Europe, is the most likely solution.
However, at present, the link remains severed amid concerns of the recent ‘third wave’ outbreak in neighboring Hong Kong.
Another option is to fly from Macau to London, or another European destination, via a transit location in Asia.
The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center recently indicated that Macau residents wishing to travel to Europe could take flights via Taipei or Seoul. However, many restrictions still apply to travelers, for example a maximum eight-hour transit period in Taipei.
The affected students hope to be able to leave Macau by the end of this month or early September at the latest, the representative told the Times.
Meanwhile, Lusa News Agency reported this week that at least 20 local students have requested assistance from the Consulate General for Portugal in Macau and Hong Kong in traveling back to Portugal to attend higher education classes. It is not known whether these are the same students as in the list submitted to the government.
The Consulate General said it was in contact with Macau SAR authorities, but also noted the possibility of other travel arrangements, including fulfilling a 14-day quarantine in Hong Kong before heading to Europe.