Macau says more time needed for Hong Kong air travel bubble
Macau said they would require more time to assess the situation regarding Covid-19 infections recorded in Hong Kong, before allowing quarantine-free travel between the cities.
This comes after a part-time cleaner, who worked at a designated quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, was last week confirmed as having a variant form of Covid-19. The case had initially been classified as a local infection of unknown source.
Macau health official Tai Wa Hou said on Monday “more time was needed” to observe the latest developments relating to the pandemic in Hong Kong.
Health officials in Hong Kong have since reclassified the hotel cleaner’s infection as linked to an imported one. They said genetic sequencing of a virus sample from the cleaner was the same as that of viral gene fragments taken from a person arriving from Indonesia.
The last time Hong Kong recorded a community case was on June 7, meaning the city has now recoded 28 days of zero local infections, according to the local authorities.
The authorities of Macau and Hong Kong have planned easing travel between the two cities. The Macau authorities said previously that Hong Kong would need to have 28 consecutive days of no new cases before Macau would consider lifting its arrival requirement for inbound coming via Hong Kong.
In Monday’s briefing, health official Mr Tai said Macau would also need to liaise with the authorities in mainland China regarding any easing of travel with Hong Kong. Currently, only the mainland has a mostly quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau.
Mr Tai said Macau and mainland China have cooperated closely in control measures in relation to the pandemic over the past few months. Therefore, any relaxation of restrictions for people traveling from Hong Kong would require “in-depth communication and assessment” with the relevant mainland authorities.
Any new steps related to a travel bubble with Hong Kong “will be announced when there is a decision about the details and the date of implementation,” stated Mr Tai.
Editing by Rachel Hu