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China eases entry rules for foreigners, Macau casino stocks react

Posted on: November 11, 2022, 10:13 a.m.

Last update: November 11, 2022, 11:55 a.m.

China announced on Friday that it was easing entry procedures into the country for arriving foreigners. Macau was quick to say it would also follow the Communist Party in relaxing its border rules.

China Entry Rules Macau Casino COVID-19
A temporary wall blocks traffic to a public shopping area in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, earlier this month. China is finally easing quarantine requirements for foreigners wishing to enter the country. (Image: PA)

China’s National Health Commission confirmed on Friday that from Saturday, Nov. 12, foreigners will only be required to self-quarantine at a government-designated hotel for five days. That’s a two-day reduction from the previous seven-day quarantine requirement.

After quarantine, foreigners will still have to undergo three days of self-isolation before entering the general public. The updated entry policy arrangement is referred to by the People’s Republic as the “5+3” quarantine program. The previous arrangement was “7+3”, meaning seven days of quarantine followed by three days of self-isolation.

Starting Saturday, China will also only require one negative nucleic acid test result taken within 48 hours of arrival. Previously, China required two negative tests.

During the three days of self-isolation, foreigners can only leave their hotel room or accommodation after testing negative that day and uploading proof of the result to the electronic monitoring platform of the country’s health code. Once downloaded and accepted, the user’s Health Code app will display a QR code identifying the individual’s risk of having COVID-19 as “green” – meaning the person is generally not at risk. risk of having or spreading the coronavirus.

Major news for Macau

Along with Hong Kong, Macao is one of the two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China. Macao adheres to Beijing’s “one country, two systems” principle.

Macau is an autonomous enclave with its own governmental, legal and financial affairs. Even so, Macau is internationally protected by the mainland. In exchange, Macao is following China’s lead in national security measures, into which the pandemic has been lumped together.

Making it easier for foreigners to enter China and Macau is a major development for the six SAR casino operators.

China’s “zero-COVID” response initiative, which Macao has followed throughout the pandemic, has forced cities into lockdown upon detection of new coronavirus cases. Politics prevented a rebound in the game in Macau, which was the the richest gaming market in the world before the pandemic.

Investors flocked to the news from China expecting a meaningful recovery to come. Shares of the four US-listed, Macau-licensed casino operators made sizable gains in early trading on Friday.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands soared more than 5.5%, Wynn Resorts rose 7.25%, MGM Resorts improved 2.7% and Melco Resorts was the big winner, with these shares rising by more than 10.5%.

Folded Blitz Test

Macau announced on Friday that it will also no longer launch mass regional testing rounds. The SAR ordered many such tests in case of new COVID-19 clusters in the past.

The pandemic changes are expected to slightly improve foreign visits to China and Macau, although significant travel numbers are not expected until the quarantine is fully lifted.

Much of the world continues to wait for China to get rid of “zero-COVID”. This would allow the most populous country in the world to regain a sense of normal coexistence with the coronavirus.

The Chinese are also eagerly awaiting the lifting of “zero-COVID”. Residents told the Associated press this week they’re tired of living with a mandatory smartphone app that tells them where they can and can’t go.

“My life is definitely not like it was three years ago. I’m just staying in Beijing,” said Ying Yiyang, a Beijing resident who works in marketing.