There are no plans yet to bring the 124 local residents stranded in Hubei province, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, back to Macau, Ines Chan Lou, who heads the Macau Government Tourism Office’s (MGTO) Licensing and Inspection Department, said on Saturday.
However, Chan was quick to add that the local government would not desist from bringing the residents home from the province on which the central government has imposed a lockdown in its fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic.
Chan made the remarks at the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre’s daily press conference about the viral threat.
Chan said that bringing the residents back to Macau involved a string of difficulties such as that the residents stay in 18 different places in the province, some of them in remote areas about five hours by car from the provincial capital Wuhan, where 23 of the residents are currently. Hubei, which has a population of about 60 million, covers 185,900 square kilometres, double the size of Portugal
Chan said that for safety and resources management reasons the local government preferred to bring all the residents back to Macau in one go.
Meanwhile, Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) official Isabel Jorge said at the press conference that the outdoor fitness equipment at the city’s public parks would be reopened to the public tomorrow. However, she noted that children’s playground equipment would remain closed until further notice.
Macau’s public parks remained closed for a fortnight until Thursday as one of the government’s various measures to tackle the COVID-19 threat.
According to Jorge, the Guia Hill cable car will also reopen on Saturday.
A police spokesman announced at the press conference that about 5,500 tourists arrived in Macau yesterday. In December 2019 the daily average of visitor arrivals stood at 99,464, according to official statistics.
Government officials have said that since the Chinese New Year late last month, the number of visitor arrivals and hotel guests has fallen over 90 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Assembly (AL) has announced that its members will return to work on Monday when the Follow-up Committee on Public Administration Affairs will hold a meeting with government officials on the government’s ongoing measures against the COVID-19 epidemic. The legislature’s committee are customarily held behind closed doors but non-establishment lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou told reporters on Saturday that he had asked the president of the committee to open the meeting to the public.