Travel bubble between Macau and Hong Kong derailed by new Covid-19 case
Travel bubble between Macau and Hong Kong have been derailed, as the latter confirmed a new local Covid-19 case, breaking its 16-day run of zero local infections.
According to Hong Kong authorities, the new case is ‘likely’ to involve the more infectious Delta virus variant.
Hong Kong government ordered a lockdown and mass testing for hundreds of residents at an apartment block in Tai Po, after a 27 year old airport worker living there tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. About 180 people have been ordered into quarantine as part of the lockdown.
Macau authorities said on Monday that Hong Kong would need to have 28 consecutive days of no new cases before Macau would consider lifting its 14 day quarantine on arrival requirement for visitors coming via Hong Kong.
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On Thursday, a Macau health official said the two sides were still discussing the details on easing travel between the two cities, but no final agreement had been reached. Once Hong Kong reached the 28 day mark of zero local Covid-19 cases, “then we can implement this system,” stated Macau Health Bureau official Leong Iek Hou.
According to previous information, any relaxation in travel rules would likely only apply to those that are fully vaccinated.
Travelers could be asked not only to take a virus test ahead of the trip but also one after they arrive at their destination. There would also be a “circuit breaker” mechanism in case of fresh cases in either city.
Officials in Hong Kong have indicated that the new infection found in the city would not impact a plan to reduce the mandatory quarantine period to seven days for fully vaccinated travelers who meet certain conditions on entering the city. That plan was to take effect at the end of the month.
Editing by Rachel Hu