International travel bubbles not on Macau's agenda: Ho Iat Seng

Macau Chief Executive says there has been no talk of any travel bubbles between Macau and foreign countries despite moves by neighboring Hong Kong to establish new travel pathways with the likes of Singapore.

Hong Kong and Singapore reached a preliminary agreement on a travel bubble last week which would exempt visitors travelling between the two jurisdictions from undergoing 14-day quarantine.

But it seems unlikely that Macau will follow suit, with Ho telling media at a public event on Saturday, “Foreign visitors would be a great pressure for us. The government has to consider the health and safety of our residents.

“We have not had any discussions about this with any countries or regions.”

The Chief Executive mentioned that he had met with Chinese President in Shenzhen last week during 40th anniversary celebrations of the city becoming China’s first special economic zone.

According to Ho, China’s leader approved of the preventive measures and results achieved in Macau but remarked that the SAR must focus on preventing any new outbreak of COVID-19.

With that in mind, there has been no progress in previously reported talks to extend the effective period of COVID-19 virus tests for those arriving in Macau from mainland China from seven days to 14 days as authorities had not yet reached any scientific consensus on the matter.

Asked about recent moves by mainland China to further crack down on gambling, Ho said he believes the government will continue to support Macau’s endeavors.

In a review of China’s criminal law by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, it was proposed that a new crime be established around overseas casinos that target Chinese gamblers.

Ho stated that while he didn’t want to offer any particular judgement on the new law while the discussion about amendments is ongoing, he was confident that “the mainland still supports us.”

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