China Relaxes Entry Rules for Foreigners, Macau Casino Stocks React

Posted on: November 11, 2022, 10:13h. 

Last updated on: November 11, 2022, 11:55h.

China announced Friday that it’s easing the country’s entry procedures for arriving foreigners. Macau quickly said it too would follow the Communist Party in relaxing its border rules.

China entry rules Macau casino COVID-19
A temporary wall blocks traffic to a public shopping area in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, earlier this month. China is finally easing quarantine requirements for foreigners wishing to enter the country. (Image: AP)

China’s National Health Commission confirmed on Friday that beginning Saturday, November 12, foreigners will only be required to quarantine in a government-designated hotel for five days. That’s a reduction of two days from the earlier requirement of seven days of quarantine.

After the quarantine, foreigners will still need to undergo three days of self-isolation before entering the general public. The updated entry policy arrangement is being labeled by the People’s Republic as the “5+3” quarantine scheme. The previous arrangement was “7+3,” meaning seven days of quarantine followed by three days of self-isolation. 

Effective Saturday, China will also require only one negative nucleic acid test result completed within 48 hours of arrival. Previously, China required two negative tests.

During the three-day self-isolation, foreigners can only leave their hotel room or place of accommodation after testing negative that day and uploading proof of the result to the country’s electronic Health Code monitoring platform. Once uploaded and accepted, the user’s Health Code app will display a QR code identifying the individual’s risk of having COVID-19 as “green” — meaning the person generally is not a risk of having or spreading the coronavirus.

Major News for Macau

Along with Hong Kong, Macau is one of two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) in China. Macau adheres to Beijing’s “one country, two systems” principle.

Macau is a self-governing enclave with its own government, legal, and financial affairs. Even so, Macau is protected internationally by the mainland. In exchange, Macau follows China’s lead on national security measures, which the pandemic has been grouped into.

Easing how foreigners enter China and Macau is a major development for the six casino operators in the SAR.

China’s “zero-COVID” response initiative, which Macau has followed throughout the pandemic, has forced cities to go on lockdown upon detection of new coronavirus cases. The policy has prevented a gaming rebound in Macau, which was the world’s richest gaming market before the pandemic.

Investors pounced on the China news in anticipation of a meaningful forthcoming recovery. Shares of the four casino operators publicly traded in the US that are licensed in Macau made considerable gains during early trading on Friday.

Las Vegas Sands shares climbed more than 5.5%, Wynn Resorts was up 7.25%, MGM Resorts improved 2.7%, and Melco Resorts was the big winner, those shares increasing more than 10.5%.

Testing Blitz Folded

Macau announced Friday that it will also no longer be initiating regionwide mass testing rounds. The SAR ordered numerous such testing blitzes in the event of new COVID-19 clusters in the past.

The pandemic changes should slightly improve foreign visitation to China and Macau, although meaningful travel numbers aren’t expected until the quarantine is fully lifted.

Much of the world continues to await China doing away with “zero-COVID.” That  would allow the world’s most populated country to return to a sense of normal coexisting with the coronavirus.

Chinese people are also eagerly awaiting “zero-COVID” being lifted. Residents told the Associated Press this week that they’re tired of living life with a mandatory smartphone app that tells them where they can and can’t go.

“My life is for sure not comparable to what it was three years ago. I just stay in Beijing,” said Ying Yiyang, a Beijing resident who works in marketing.