Macau to Ease Travel Rules for Portugal as Visitation Continues to Rise

Posted on: May 23, 2022, 05:49h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2022, 10:15h.

Macau is still trying to recover from COVID-19, but the pandemic isn’t willingly releasing its grip. The Chinese SAR is making progress though, and announced that it will soon implement relaxed travel rules for Portuguese visitors.

Macau Airport
Passengers arrive at the Macau Airport. Soon, the city will relax its travel policies to include more flexible travel for Portuguese visitors. (Image: YouTube)

This is going to be part of a pilot program that will allow select non-residents from certain foreign countries to enter. However, they will still need to be subject to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 or 21 days, depending on their status and vaccinations, according to Macau Business.

Non-residents cannot enter Macau under Chief Executive Order 64/2022. This order aims to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, because of the SAR’s needs, health authorities may waive this restriction if they feel it is necessary.

Portugal Becomes Safe Zone

The Macau Health Bureau determined that restrictions on Portuguese nationals should be lifted as the epidemic situation in Portugal has been deemed moderate. Beginning May 27, Portuguese citizens who have not been to mainland China, Macau, or Hong Kong in the 21 days preceding entry are allowed to enter without a prior authorization from the health authorities.

The visitors must comply with all entry requirements and bring the required documentation upon arrival. Exemptions may also be granted to those who are staying in another country as a result of a stopover or transfer for transportation.

Macau announced on April 14 that it would lift the border restrictions for Filipino workers, students, and foreign educators. This was because of the shortage of teachers in international schools. Last Thursday, officials extended the exemption to non-resident workers in Indonesia.

The SAR has implemented prolonged shutdowns during the pandemic that virtually wiped out all of its casino activity. This is despite the fact that the city has only recorded 82 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Worldwide, COVID-19 is responsible for over six million deaths.

Portugal Still a Threat

Portugal is still a threat to Macau, but the SAR needs to improve its numbers. Traffic is down and casinos continue to suffer. The gross gaming revenue for April was $331.2 million, the lowest it has been since September 2020.

Relaxing the restrictions for Portuguese visitors comes at an odd time. The country leads all of the European Union (EU) in the number of infections, according to data from statistical website Our World in Data.

Portugal leads Germany (826), Finland (766) and Italy (696). It has an average daily rate of 1,150 new cases per one million inhabitants. The country is third with more than one million people in terms of the number of daily cases. It trails Australia (1,630) and New Zealand (1,480). The EU’s daily average for this indicator is 447 cases, while the world average is 64.

Portugal is eighth in Europe in terms of daily deaths because of COVID-19, accounting for 1.97 deaths every seven days. However, Finland has the highest number per capita of daily deaths, with 5.4. Next are Malta with 33, and Greece with 2.9. Slovakia and Hungary follow, with 2.6 and 2.4, respectively.

Accounting for only those countries and territories with more than one million residents, Finland is the country with the highest overall average in this indicator. It is followed by New Zealand at 2.7, Greece at 2.9, the UK at 2.7 and Slovakia at 2.6.

The EU averages 1.43 deaths per day from COVID-19, while the global average is 0.2.