Fitch Ratings Inc expects both countries could launch a quarantine-free travel scheme during the first half of the year.
Hong Kong.- Fitch Ratings Inc predicted a travel bubble between Hong Kong and China could be launched in the following months.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, had said that an outbreak of Omicron variant Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong may hinder the city’s chances of reaching a quarantine-free travel arrangement with mainland China.
However, the ratings agency stated: “For now, we still expect the authorities to begin a cautious phase-in of the quarantine-free travel during the first half of 2022.”
Macau authorities said that once Hong Kong and the mainland reach similar arrangements, Macau and Hong Kong may launch a quarantine-free travel bubble.
The reopening of the border between Hong Kong and Macau was highly expected as Hong Kong has historically accounted for 15 per cent to 20 per cent of Macau’s total gaming revenue.
Mainland China continues to be the only country to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau
However, Hong Kong authorities have recently implemented strict new Covid-19 control measures, including banning dining at restaurants after 6 pm, closing all bars, beauty salons and beaches, and suspending passenger flights from eight countries.
The rule has been in place for two weeks, but it may be extended.
Authorities in Macau have also decided to halt all commercial passenger flights to Macau from January 9 to avoid a rise in new Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
During the last few days, authorities revealed three fresh “imported” cases of Covid-19 were detected among air passengers arriving from overseas.
Stricter quarantine measures were also implemented for incoming passengers from places deemed “very high-risk” in 22 countries/regions.
Before heading to Macau, travellers from these high-risk areas must present proof of three “negative” Covid-19 nucleic acid test results within five days and at least 24 hours apart.