Nearly all Covid restrictions have been removed from Macau in advance of Chinese New Year

Nearly all Covid restrictions have been removed from Macau in advance of Chinese New Year

macau_wide_open_for_cny_golden_week_A spate of headlines across Asian gaming media shows a deluge of developments that will confirm beyond a doubt to the western world that China is good and well shut of its zero-Covid policy. The policy kept citizens of the Mainland as well as the Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong under draconian restrictions for about 3 years.

Civil unrest across the country is widely thought to have caused the reversal, however, President Xi Jinping maintains that he came to the decision after he was advised that the current Omicron variant was no more viral nor dangerous than an average influenza outbreak.

As of Sunday, January 8, Macau has dropped all quarantine and isolation requirements for visiting foreigners.

Further developments from Sunday included abolishing the declaration of health status at all ports of entry, returning the border to the status of 2019 when all foreign nationals were allowed to cross, the Macau International Airport resumed transfer services, no NAT testing for visitors from Mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan – however, those entering from a foreign country will need to present negative NAT results prior to boarding the plane or boat, and those entering from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and foreign countries must show a negative NAT if they plan to depart to the Mainland within 7 days.

Officials Expect “Herd Immunity” as 60-70% of Macau already Infected

Alvis Lo, the director of the Macau Health Bureau, stated, “60% to 70% of the population in Macau has already been infected, and according to health information they will not be re-infected within three to six months after infection.

“The transition period will end after January 8 and COVID will become an endemic disease in Macau.”

It is estimated that as many as 250,000,000 Chinese have been infected by the virus since the reversal. If death rates remain the same as they have on average for the last 3 years elsewhere in the world, that would mean that China will experience about 2.5m deaths from the current wave. With close contact tracing and Covid death reporting ended, we may never know the human toll.

Ferry Services Resume Along With 13,230 Passenger Flights for Gilden Week

Other developments included Macau ferry services resuming Sunday to and from Hong Kong. With the Chinese New Year beginning January 22nd, 2023, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approved 13,230 passenger flights to and from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan during the seven-day CNY “Golden Week” holidays.

Inside Asia Gaming also reports that travel platform Klook has logged a 50-fold increase in travel bookings to Macau as hotel capacity for Golden Week has hit 60% and is still climbing.

Source: Macau to drop all quarantine, isolation requirements for foreigners from Sunday, Inside Asia Gaming, January 5, 2023

Author: Henry Brown