Macau is considering the option of district-level quarantines should the resumption of tourism activity trigger new cases in the territory.
Yesterday, Dr Leong Iek Hou of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center announced the news to a press conference.
This “circuit-breaker measure”, designed to interrupt the spread of the virus, would cordon off parts of the city. While the details are still being worked out, it is understood that this will make physical interactions with some parts of the city impossible.
That does not mean that casinos will be suspended, however, as they were for 15 days in February. Leong stressed that even if a case is related to casino activities, a general suspension may not be ordered. “We shall evaluate how closely an infection is related to such activities,” she explained.
The medical professional also said that current health measures implemented in Macau casinos, such as the requirement to show a Covid-19 negative test result and health code upon arrival, will remain in place even as the gradual resumption of the Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS) bring more visitors.
Besides showing the test result and health code at casino entrances, measures enacted at local casinos also include mandatory facemask wearing and a reduction in the maximum occupancy to half of the normally permitted level.
Leong explained that although Macau has a strong track record in terms of epidemic control, the pandemic still exists. “I can’t say that mainland China and Macau have zero risk,” Leong said.
She stressed that resumption of economic activities requires a balance between epidemic control, economic stability and a return to normal living arrangements.
On the other hand, she said that the current preventive measures will remain until other progress is made, for example, the distribution of an effective vaccine, at which time social distancing may be relaxed.
On Monday, the Center disclosed a cut-off mechanism to suspend the reenactment of the IVS scheme. It will be triggered by just one locally-recorded infection.