The government in Hong Kong is trying to introduce a screening process that would allow officials to clear some residents for travel to whitelisted locations, including Macau.
Hong Kong’s Health Code Implementation Delayed Again
Hong Kong will most likely need more time to implement the “health code” which would allow the government to monitor citizens in a way that allows health authorities to clear people for travel.
Easing travel restrictions will apply for destinations such as neighboring Macau and the mainland China province of Guangdong. The implementation of such a system would allow Macau to finally see a small increase in revenue, providing enough players flock to the special administrative system, something that has not been happening and Macau now faces its worst quarter on record.
A positive sign in the implementation of the measure is the fact that both Macau and Guangdong have a declaration system in place. However, Hong Kong would need to review entries placed in its own system first, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a social media post on Facebook, no Thursday.
She cautioned that while it was in everyone’s best interest to ease up restrictions, there had been some localized cases of COVID-19 making a hasty move impossible. Some local media outlets reported that there had been a conflict on a governmental level as to what extent should Chinese authorities be privy to Hong Kong residents’ data.
Macau Still Has a Few Wrinkles to Iron Out
Meanwhile, Macau has introduced a 3,000-per-day quota allowing residents to travel to nine locations, including Guangdong and Zhuhai, both provinces of mainland China. However, cases in Hong Kong have continued to appear, with 42 new cases reported on Thursday when Ms Lam delivered her statement and plan of action.
She confirmed that Hong Kong would do its best to reduce the risk of transmission and try to completely annihilate the virus. Presently, Hong Kong has a 14-day quarantine period for any arrivals from Macau, mainland China and Taiwan, and the measure will stay in effect until August 7 in the very least.
Macau is betting big on the so-called travel bubble plan, which is designed to facilitate the arrival of visitors. However, for the plan to work, Hong Kong would also need to open its borders with the administrative region.
Originally, hopes were that visitors from China and Guangdong will boost the gross gaming revenue. However, the trickle of players has been lower than expected. In May alone, the rate of visitors in Macau declined 99.5% or just 16,133 people, according to the Statistics and Census Service.
JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd even said that the rate and pace of reopenings remained “frustratingly slow,” and that gambling companies, including junket operators, have been unhappy. At the present rate of developments, Macau’s outlook maybe even bleaker, although time will show.