OFFICIALS in Hong Kong and Macau are eyeing the prospects of setting up a travel link between the two Chinese regions as Covid outbreaks come under control.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam discussed the possibility of a travel bubble with her Macau counterpart Ho Iat Seng at the Boao Forum for Asia on Hainan island.
Lam, who was responding to an inquiry from a Hong Long legislator following her return from Hainan, said Hong Kong officials have started tackling ways in which travel between the neighbouring cities could gradually resume.
The talks come as flights for the travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore due to commence on May 26 are being booked and prices rise following the announcement.
One of the biggest concerns about an arrangement between Hong Kong and Macau is the risk of travellers from Hong Kong crossing into mainland China. Macau residents are required to provide a negative nucleic acid test to cross into Zhuhai while Hong Kong residents must undergo 14-day quarantine.
“The biggest problem is that the mainland and Macau have almost fully cleared customs,” Lam said. “Therefore we need to find out a way in which if Hong Kong residents that use this arrangement to enter Macau without quarantine do not go to mainland China through Macau.”
Hong Kong has again managed to limit known Covid infections to single figures with most cases having been imported. Rules on gatherings in bars and restaurants are being eased from today.
Recorded outbreaks in Macau and mainland China have been minimised, leading to special visa arrangements between the two jurisdictions to help the visitor economy recover.
Macau Business reports that the region’s tourism and health authorities have not yet confirmed any talks with Hong Kong officials on resuming quarantine-free travel between both sides of the Pearl Delta.