Macaus Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre revealed Monday that Macau and Guangdong Province had reached an initial agreement which would extend the validation period of COVID-19 virus test for those who are vaccinated.
All high to medium risk districts of COVID-19 in Guangzhou city at Guangdong Province were cleared and all lockdown areas reopened last weekend, with Macau also removing mandatory 14-day medical quarantine measures for arrivals from several districts in Guangzhou. However, the validation period of virus tests for those crossing the border from Guangdong Province into Macau remains at just 48 hours.
Macaus health officials said that the preliminary consensus between Macau and Guangdong is that the validation period would be appropriately extended for those who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, although exactly when the new measures would be extended have yet to be confirmed.
Officials also explained that the validation period of virus tests would not return to seven days because the latest outbreak in Guangdong Province was caused by the highly contagious Delta variant.
We know that the incubation period of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is very short, and the virus can spread quickly with a high load of virus, said Tai Wa Hou, Medical Director of Macaus Conde de So Janurio Hospital. Therefore, we do not think it is an appropriate time to ease the entry policy at this point.
While Guangdong has managed to stamp out its latest outbreak, Hong Kong has recorded two local infections in recent days, having previously gone 16 days without any new cases. However, Tai suggested Macau may consider the actual situation in Hong Kong rather than sticking to a strict 28-day requirement in reopening borders between the two SARs.
The first prerequisite is to observe whether there are genuine local cases in the community in Hong Kong in the future, Tai explained.
But if a local outbreak does not occur in Hong Kong, we might consider adjusting the requirement of zero local cases for 28 consecutive days before implementing the exemption of quarantine for those vaccinated.
However Tai also emphasized that there is still no specific timetable or plan for customs clearance between Hong Kong and Macau.
As of 28 June, Macau still requires individuals who have been to any of the following areas in Guangdong Province to quarantine for 14 days:
Guangzhou City: Liwan District, Panyu District, Nansha District, Yongping Subdistrict of Baiyun District
Shenzhen City: Fuyong Subdistrict (excluding Shenzhen Airport and Fuyong Ferry Terminal) of Baoan District
Dongguan City: Nancheng Subdistrict, Dongguang Campus of Xinhua University in Machong Town
Foshan City: Dormitories of Yingkang Packaging Co. Ltd., Nanhai District, Chancheng Distirct