Addressing Monday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou announced that the Macao government has now implemented tougher measures for crew members of cargo ships plying the Hong Kong-Macao route.
Leong pointed out that before the new measures, the crew members merely had to be tested for COVID-19 every seven days without having to undergo quarantine during their stay in Macao. Leong said that now the crew members, almost all of them Macao residents, are subject to “closed-loop management” during their stay in Macao, according to which upon going ashore in Macao, they will be transported by special vehicles to one of the government’s “quarantine hotels”. They must stay in their guestroom until they go to work again when they will be transported by special vehicles back to the pier to board their Hong Kong-bound vessels.
Leong said that the new measures will ensure that the crew members will not go into the community in Macao, so as to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading here in case they have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
The Macao government said last week that the crew members are not allowed to go ashore when their vessels are in Hong Kong. Goods in Hong Kong are only loaded on to the Macao-bound ships by mechanical devices. Hong Kong people are not permitted to board the Macao-bound ships.
Leong said on Monday that five cargo ships are currently commuting between Hong Kong and Macao. Leong said that as the crew members of each ship are in close touch with each other during their onboard work, the Macao government is not barring them from remaining in touch with each other during their stay in Macao. Leong said that nevertheless the Macao government was carrying out special measures to ensure that crew members from the five cargo ships won’t get in touch during their stay here.
Leong also said that as the operations of the Hong Kong-Macao cargo ships are essential to the supply of goods to Macao for residents’ daily life, the Macao government will bear the cost of their stay at the “quarantine hotels” as their work serves the public interest.
Leong pointed out that the Macao government has always been implementing “closed-loop management” for pilots and other crew members of cargo planes arriving in Macao from COVID-19 high-risk countries such as the United States and Europe during their stay in Macao, according to which upon arrival in Macao they are transported to one of the government’s “quarantine hotels” and afterwards are transported back to the local airport for their next flight.