The local government Saturday ruled out the Hong Kong-style measure of implementing 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from the mainland in Macau as part of its host of measures to prevent the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading.
During a daily press conference by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong pointed out that “10,000 to 20,000” Macau people live in the adjacent city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province.
“Fourteen days of quarantine, how to do that?” the policy secretary asked rhetorically, adding, “We have to consider more concrete problems.”
Zhuhai, which has a population of 1.6 million, reportedly has 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Macau, which has a population of nearly 680,000, has confirmed 10 cases, 7 patients from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and three from Macau.
No new novel coronavirus infections have been reported in Macau since February 4. Three of the 10 COVID-19 patients in Macau have meanwhile been discharged from hospital.
Some 56,000 people crossed Macau’s various checkpoints on Friday, according to official immigration data released during the press conference.
Various senior government officials urged Macau residents again and again during the press conference to stay at home during “this critical moment” of the COVID-19 epidemic.
They said that staying at home as much as possible was the most effective way for residents to support the government’s novel coronavirus prevention measures.
The government announced Friday that the civil service would relaunch its “basic” services on Monday.
However, people intending to enter civil service premises must present a self-filled health e-declaration to confirm that they don’t have any novel coronavirus symptoms.
The government has still to announce when Macau’s 41 casinos and dozens of other entertainment businesses such as bars and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.
They have been closed by government order for at least 15 days since February 5. Accordingly, the casinos and other entertainment businesses could open their doors again next Thursday (20) at the earliest.
Meanwhile, officials also announced during the press conference that one more hotel, The 13 in Coloane, has decided to close until further notice, which raised the number of hotels and guesthouses closed in response to the COVID-19 threat to 29.
According to official statistics, Macau had 123 hotels and guesthouses at the end of last year.