4 more imported cases raise COVID-19 total to 17 in 2 days
The local government on Wednesday night ordered a blanket ban on the entry of foreign non-resident workers into Macau, starting from 00:00 Thursday, with the aim of stemming the further spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Macau.
A statement by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) Wednesday night said that the entry ban aimed to prevent imported COVID-19 cases and protect Macau residents’ health, pointing out that the novel coronavirus disease is constantly spreading across the world.
An executive order signed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng and published in the Official Gazette (BO) Wednesday night stipulates that with effect from 00:00 today, all non-resident workers are barred from entering the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR), except those who are mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan residents, in order to stem the further spread of the novel coronavirus disease in Macau.
The decision is based on the national “One China” policy according to which China comprises the mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Accordingly, non-resident workers from the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong are compatriots in Macau, not “foreign” workers.
The order is based on Article 25 of the Law on the Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.
The executive order also states that in the public interest, namely for the prevention, control and treatment of diseases, aid and emergency measures, and ensuring Macau’s normal operation and the provision of daily necessities for residents, Macau’s health authorities can in exceptional cases lift the entry ban on foreign non-resident workers.
According to data from the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), at the end of January the number of non-resident workers stood at 193,498. Foreign nationals (mostly Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Nepalese and Myanmarese) accounted for 35.5 per cent of the total number. Mainland Chinese (118,667), Hongkongers (4,456) and Taiwanese (1,689) accounted for the remaining 64.5 per cent.
Informally, non-resident workers are known as “blue card holders”. As non-resident workers also include senior management staff, technicians and professionals, not all of them are migrant workers.
The entry ban on foreign non-resident workers took effect immediately after midnight Wednesday night.
Last night’s announcement of the foreign non-resident worker entry ban came after the local government confirmed two new COVID-19 cases Wednesday – Macau’s 14th and 15th COVID-19 cases, a 42-year-old woman from Indonesia and a 31-year-old Filipino hotel waiter, respectively. Both have been classified as imported cases.