South Korea has implemented a mandatory negative COVID test (PCR) for visitors from Macau and Hong Kong, after implementing a similar measure for those from mainland China earlier.

The move comes as COVID cases surge within the two SARs and the mainland, with authorities in Hong Kong and Mainland China railing against measures for arrivals that they deem too strict, citing high vaccination rates.

Measures have already been implemented by Australia, the United States, India, Canada, France and more, requiring negative PCR tests before departure and oftentimes after arrival.

Interestingly, Taiwan will also implement the testing regime for arrivals from the regions, as well as for transit passengers arriving from mainland China via Hong Kong.

The moves have sparked backlash from China, which has contested the COVID entry restrictions being imposed on its citizens and transit travelers.

This comes after nearly three years of a strict zero-COVID policy implemented in China, Macau and Hong Kong, which caused a massive drop in visitation and revenue.

It also coincides with Hong Kong’s move for quarantine-free travel from mainland China to Hong Kong, set to take place on Sunday – when China plans to drop its post-arrival test and quarantine requirements for inbound travelers, alongside testing requirements.

China is now facing the backlash of its strong COVID prevention policy, with case numbers exploding across Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland and other nations moving to prevent imported cases.