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Macau tightens PCR test rule

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MACAU, 2 August 2021: Travellers from mainland China on flights to Macau face a tighter RT-PCR Covid-19 test timeline that cuts the maximum validity from seven days to just 48 hours before the flight departure

Macau’s Health authorities announced the new shorter validity for PCR tests last week, which took effect for flights departing China on Saturday 31 July.

Macaus relies heavily on Chinese travellers to power its massive gambling and casino industry, but the rise in Covid-19 infections reported in mainland China is now a concern for the territory’s tourism officials.

Introducing a shorter validity period for the Covid-19 test could slow travel demand.  Chinese gamblers currently enjoy a variation of an air travel bubble scheme that allows quarantine-free travel to Macau from mainland China cities.  Under the old rule, travellers flying direct from a city in China to Macau had to show a Covid-19 test valid for not more than seven days from the date of intended travel.

Meanwhile, China has stopped issuing and renewing passports for non-urgent purposes to minimise travel amid the rapid spread of Covid-19 variants.

The recent spike in city outbreaks in China raises concern that China’s outbound travel market could remain closed well into 2022. There are no hints from government officials on a possible timeline when China might ease rules to allow travel firms to start selling group travel to overseas destinations

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