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Guangdong quarantine lifting won’t cause COVID-19 rebound: govt

2020-07-15 03:07     Comment:1

The Macau government said yesterday it believes that today’s lifting of Guangdong’s 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from Macau will not cause the COVID-19 epidemic in the two regions to rebound.

The Macau government yesterday also urged local residents to refrain initially from visiting Guangdong unless necessary as the new measure has just started.

Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre made the remarks during a special press conference yesterday evening about further details of the Guangdong government’s quarantine lifting, which was announced by the Macau government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre on Monday night.

According to Monday’s announcement, the new measure, which starts at 6 a.m. today, is applicable to all arrivals from Macau, except confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, those who have been in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients, those with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, and those who have been to a foreign country, Hong Kong or Taiwan within the 14 days prior to their intended entry into Guangdong.

According to Monday’s announcement, those who have entered Guangdong from Macau can only travel within the nine Greater Bay Area (GBA) cities in the province, namely Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai, while Macau residents who work or live in Guangdong and mainlanders who have returned to the province from Macau can travel within the whole province.

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre also announced on Monday night that the Macau government will toughen its COVID-19 prevention and control measures for local casinos from 00:00 today – coinciding with “the new entry and exit measures” between Guangdong and Macau – according to which all gamblers and guests entering casinos premises must undergo a temperature check and show their green Macau Health Code and a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

The Guangdong government imposed its 14-day quarantine on arrivals from overseas as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan on March 27. While its quarantine for arrivals from Macau is lifted today, Guangdong’s quarantine measure for arrivals from elsewhere remains in force.

During yesterday’s press conference, Lo said that for the time being it was difficult for the local government to estimate to what extent the new entry and exit measures between Guangdong and Macau and the new COVID-19 prevention and control measures in casinos will raise the number of visitors to Macau. “Any new measures to restore the movement of people [between Macau and the mainland], including for visitors, have always been rolled out in a gradual way. If the new measure [the Guangdong government’s quarantine lifting for arrivals from Macau] proceeds smoothly, it will neither cause the [COVID-19] epidemic [in the two regions] to rebound nor will it adversely affect their COVID-19 prevention and control work,” Lo said.

Lo reaffirmed yesterday that only those who can present their Guangdong Health Code, which is converted from the Macau Health Code and a valid NAT certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days, are allowed to enter Guangdong from Macau.

Lo also reaffirmed that the Guangdong government’s quarantine lifting for arrivals from Macau is only applicable to Macau residents and mainland visitors, while non-resident workers from the mainland are still subject to the current quarantine rules.

Since last month, non-resident workers from the mainland employed in Macau and living in Zhuhai have been exempted from the 14-day quarantine between Macau and Zhuhai so that they can commute between the two cities.

Since February 20, non-resident workers who have been in the mainland within the 14 days prior to their intended entry into Macau have had to go into quarantine and medical observation for 14 days at a facility in Zhuhai arranged by the health authorities there and then obtain a health certificate issued by the Zhuhai health authorities confirming that they have not been infected with the novel coronavirus, before they are allowed to enter Macau. Foreign non-resident workers are currently barred from entering Macau.

Lo also reaffirmed yesterday that all those arriving in Macau from Hong Kong, including Macau residents, must present a NAT certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days, after which they must undergo 14 days of quarantine and medical observation at one of the government’s “quarantine hotels”, during which they have to undergo two nucleic acid tests. “They are not allowed to enter the mainland from Macau within the 14 days after entering Macau,” Lo said.


Alvis Lo Iek Long (right), one of the three clinical directors of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, and Government Information Bureau (GCS) Director Inês Chan Lou pose during yesterday’s special press conference at the Health Bureau (SSM) about the Guangdong government’s quarantine lifting. Photo: GCS

Govt doesn’t expect large rise in mainland visitors soon

Government Information Bureau (GCS) Director Inês Chan Lou said during yesterday’s press conference that the local government does not expect a large number of mainland visitors to Macau in a short period of time after today’s implementation of the Guangdong government’s quarantine lifting, pledging that it will constantly assess the changes in the number of mainland visitors to Macau.

Early this year, the central government suspended the issuing of individual visit scheme and package tour permits for mainlanders’ travel to Hong Kong and Macau.

Fully booked ‘in short time’

Meanwhile, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre said in a statement yesterday afternoon that the online appointment system for the local government’s NAT scheme had become fully booked “in a short time” yesterday morning due to today’s lifting of Guangdong’s quarantine requirement.

The NAT programme’s main testing station at the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On opens daily between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The Health Bureau (SSM) could initially test up to 6,000 people per day in its NAT scheme, which is carried out in collaboration with a third-party testing institution – Kuok Kim (Macau) Hygiene Examination Company Limited, before its testing capability was raised late last month to 16,000 people per day.

Yesterday afternoon’s statement pointed out that Macau currently can test up to 16,000 people per day in its NAT scheme, while in reality 4,000 to 6,000 people have been tested per day in recent days.

The local government has warned that large crowds of travellers have recently occurred at Macau border checkpoints to Zhuhai because many of them only converted their Macau Health Code into a Guangdong Health Code when crossing the border.

Yesterday afternoon’s statement said that residents still would need time to familiarise themselves with converting their Macau Health Code into a Guangdong Health Code, adding that therefore the Health Bureau has decided to maintain the current quota of 5,000 people per day for the NAT scheme’s online appointment system, with the aim of preventing large crowds at the Zhuhai-Macau border checkpoints. The statement pledged that the Health Bureau will increase the number of daily appointment places in a timely manner after residents have become familiar with the conversion of the two health codes.

During yesterday’s press conference, Lo said that the local authorities are discussing with their mainland counterparts the possible simplification of the conversion of the Macau Health Code and Guangdong Health Code on the holders’ smartphones.

Lo also said that the local government planned to add one more NAT testing station to meet the rising needs for COVID-19 testing, possibly at the Macau Forum complex in Zape.

Meanwhile, Lo said that the Health Bureau will arrange for casinos workers – including dealers, cage workers and security guards – to undergo one-off nucleic acid tests in phases.

No local COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Macau for 107 days. Only one of the 46 COVID-19 patients is still in hospital.

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  • visitors2020071604:062020-07-16 04:06

    Lo also said that the local government expected many travellers to choose to enter Guangdong via the Gongbei checkpoint - Zhuhai\'s counterpart of Macau\'s Barrier Gate checkpoint, urging local residents to choose to use other Macau-Zhuhai checkpoints to travel to the province so as to prevent the occurrace of large crowds.

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