Macau Announces New Blue Health Code for Hong Kong Visitors
Officials in Macau has confirmed that a blue health code program has been launched to allow visitors to the region from Hong Kong with no need to quarantine.
The region of Macau has been struggling for months with its COVID-19 recovery process. While Macau has seen a super low number of infected individuals, the SAR has been hit with low travel numbers due to restrictions put in place by health officials. Many of the region’s tourists come from nearby provinces like Hong Kong. However, travel numbers have been low due to the need for a long quarantine upon arrival from certain areas. Just a few days ago, it was announced that a new blue health program was created in Macau for travelers from Hong Kong, allowing individuals to visit without the need for quarantine.
Travel Bubble Initiative
The new blue health code system has been developed but has yet to be implemented. The Macau Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center created the plan and will allow individuals who are fully vaccinated to enter the region.
Travelers must also have a negative nucleic acid test involving the virus within a 48 hour time frame of travel to be approved. If the criteria can be met, the traveler will not have to complete any type of medical observation.
According to the Macau Government Tourism Office, more than 50 local hotels have decided to take part in the new program. Officials have no plans to start the program until Hong Kong and Macau have seen zero new cases within a 14 day time frame.
The last case was reported on June 28 when a young female resident of Macau tested positive. She had traveled from Singapore back to the region.
Taking Part in the Program
For individuals from Hong Kong, the Macau Health Code application must be downloaded to a mobile device. Documentation can then be uploaded showing the vaccination of the individual. Once the person is approved by officials, they can travel into Macau and then complete a nucleic acid test. If the result is negative, it is then uploaded to the app.
The app will show a blue code for the individual to travel through the border gate of Macau. Once in Macau, the individual must go straight to their hotel. The approved traveler must stay at the resort, and they can gamble and dine there mask-free. Swimming pools and other amenities that are considered a high risk are off limits.
It will be interesting to see if travelers will be willing to visit Macau with the restriction of quarantine removed. While this is a positive, the fact that one cannot travel to other casinos or properties might be seen as a hindrance to some.
For now, Macau is closed off to visitors from any other location. Only those from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are allowed to enter. However, the 14 day quarantine period has caused lower travel numbers.
The economy of Macau is basically at a standstill and will most likely not see a full recovery until things get back to normal. In May, the region had just over 866,000 entries. This may seem like a large number, but in the same month in 2019, that number was almost 3.4 million.
The region is very popular and sees millions of visitors a year. In June, the gross gaming revenues for Macau came in at $820 million. This is a 73% drop from June in 2019, before the pandemic began.
It will be interesting to see as the restrictions are dropped, if more players will be ready to visit. Traveler numbers will have to increase significantly before Macau can seen any semblance of recovery.