China’s Guangdong province has announced that a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people entering from Macau will be lifted this week, as restrictions designed to prevent transmission of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) are eased.
The quarantine will be lifted from 15 July, at 6am, though still restricts visitors to nine cities in Guangdong for an unspecified period. People returning from Macau will now be required to remain in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen or Zhaoqing.
They must not have travelled overseas within 14 days prior to coming to Guangdong and must sign a health declaration, as well having a negative Covid-19 test completed within seven days of travelling.
Visitors must also sign up to a local health app, and use this to send daily updates on their health for 14 days. They are also prohibited from travelling beyond the nine cities without approval from the local authorities.
It comes as Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre further eases restrictions on visitors from mainland China, with Beijing and Hubei provinces removed from the list of high-risk areas. This means that all urban residents on the mainland no longer need to undergo 14 days of quarantine when visiting the special administrative region.
All casino visitors will be required to undergo temperature checks, and present valid health code and Covid-19 test certificates. Operators will also be required to ensure fresh air circulates the premises. This extends to any visitors to resorts, hotels or apartments.
The easing of restrictions could significantly benefit Macau’s casino industry, which has been badly affected by plummeting visitor numbers as a result of the travel and quarantine restrictions.
In the first half of the year, to 30 June, revenue was down 77.4% year-on-year at MOP33.72bn (£3.37bn/€3.71bn/$4.22bn), with MOP22.13bn of this total generated in January alone, before anti Covid-19 measures were ramped up.
June alone was down 97.0% at MOP716m, the third consecutive month in which revenue was down more than 90% year-on-year.
As a result of the decline in gambling’s contribution, the University of Macau's Centre for Macau Studies and the Department of Economics revised their projections for Macau's 2020 GDP down further. The new projections predict a drop of between 54.5% and 60.0%.
This reliance on gambling has prompted head of government, chief executive Ho Iat Seng, to criticise an “excessive dependence” on the industry.