Coronavirus: Macau to ban all non-residents with travel history from entering or transiting through the city from Wednesday
- Macau residents returning from abroad and residents from Hong Kong or Taiwan who had not been overseas will be quarantined for 14 days
- Those arriving from mainland China, except from Hubei province, will be put under medical surveillance
Macau has been praised in Hong Kong for its ban on all foreign tourists since last Wednesday, a move which was later followed by Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Previously, those from the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were exempted from quarantine, irrespective of their travel history.
From midnight on Tuesday, Hong Kong will ban all non-residents from entering the city, while arrivals from the mainland, Macau, and Taiwan will be quarantined at home.
Both the cities, which survived the first wave of local outbreaks, now face an influx of returning residents bringing in several imported cases.
As of Monday, Macau had 26 cases, of which 15 were imported or patients with a travel history.
“We have been notified by Hong Kong about the new measures. Macau will also take corresponding moves,” Ho said at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
“The coming week will be crucial … we first faced the risks of infection from the mainland. Now we’re facing risks from entire Europe and the United States, which is an even bigger pressure.”
The new restriction will effectively ban all non-residents with foreign travel history from entering. Macau residents returning from abroad and residents of Hong Kong or Taiwan who had not been overseas will be quarantined for 14 days, while those arriving from the mainland, except from Hubei province, will be put under medical surveillance.
Hong Kong’s announcement seemingly caught the Macau government by surprise, as the casino hub’s director of health Dr Lei Chin-ion said on Monday they had not received any prior notification about this.
But on Tuesday, Ho downplayed the short notice from Hong Kong, although he confirmed his administration received notification from the Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Office only on Monday.
“We should not call the new measures retribution. We are not rivals, we are friends,” Ho said.
“We have discussed with the Hong Kong authorities before adopting the latest measures.”
He also thanked the Hong Kong government for allowing the transit of 680 Macau students via Hong Kong International Airport even after the new restriction since Tuesday midnight.
Asked whether Macau will also propose banning the sale of liquor like Hong Kong, Ho made clear he had no such intentions.
“We have to scientifically assess the origin of the imported cases in Macau. We don’t need these measures if the infected do not mingle with the community,” he said.
Unlike Hong Kong’s reliance on home quarantine, the Macau government has so far used eight hotels for quarantining all arrivals, including its own residents. But Ho on Tuesday urged major casino groups to be responsible, noting no hotels owned by these groups had been used for quarantine.
“This is also a test for the major casino companies. I urge them to shoulder their social responsibility,” he said.
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