The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center has implemented stricter measures on entrants from, or having visited in the preceding 14 days, Hong Kong, Urumqi of Xinjiang Province and Dalian of Liaoning Province.
Entrants from Hong Kong were, and still are, required to undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Macau. A new policy that took effect from 6 a.m. today requires entrants from Hong Kong or individuals who have visited the city in the preceding 14 days to undergo a nucleic acid test from within the last 72 hours.
Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, said Hong Kong should consider allowing residents who have tested negative for the coronavirus to travel to China and Macau in reciprocal arrangements that could help the city’s economic recovery.
With regards to this suggestion, Macau’s Coronavirus Center saw no possibility of this occurring for the time being, given one of Macau’s criteria for lifting travel restrictions is a similar epidemic situation in the counterpart location.
Macau has seen no new local cases in more than 120 days, in contrast to Hong Kong which is currently experiencing a new wave of infections. Yesterday, the neighboring Special Administrative Region saw 80 new local infections, raising the total count to nearly 3,600 confirmed cases. Of this figure, more than 1,200 people are still hospitalized. Two patients with chronic illnesses, aged 83 and 84, succumbed to Covid-19 and passed away yesterday morning.
Previously, all provinces of mainland China had been removed from Macau’s list of high-risk areas. This saw the lifting of quarantine measures on entrants provided that they are in possession of a valid Covid-19 nucleic acid test result upon entry into Macau.
Xinjiang and Liaoning were added to the list of medium risk areas on July 22 and 27 respectively. Since their designation as medium risk areas, only three people have entered Macau from Xinjiang and 38 people entered Macau having traveled from Liaoning.
In light of the summer holiday now in its final month, many Macau students studying abroad are faced with the need to return to their schools. Many of them were retrieved from Europe and North America in two missions conducted in March and in June, with special shuttle or ferry services from Hong Kong International Airport.
Recently, some have asked if the government would reopen the special services or “channels” so that these students can return to schools.
At yesterday’s press conference, the Macao Government Tourism Office confirmed that after negotiation with the tourism industry and airline companies that serve Macau, the latter have agreed to add extra flights so that Macau students can resume their overseas education.
Due to flight rights and other regulations, these non-Macau airline companies are not entitled to operate direct flights from Macau to European or North American destinations. In other words, a transit stop in at least one airport is mandatory. Local flag carrier Air Macau operates no flights to Europe and the Americas.
Macau Daily Times earlier reported that Taiwan’s EVA Air has launched extra flights from Macau to London, capital of the U.K., with a transit stop in Taipei. Another option is to make a transit stop in Seoul, South Korea.
Further, the Coronavirus Center announced that paper proof of sample collection for nucleic acid test would not be issued starting from today. It will be replaced with an electronic version. In the meantime, the results are included as part of the Macau Health Code used to enter public departments, hotels and some other venues.
As negative Covid-19 test results are required to board outbound cross-boundary public transport such as flights, from Macau, passengers can file an application with the Health Bureau at the Macau Forum or the public Conde São Januário Hospital with supporting evidence of their trips.
If their application is approved, proof will be issued on the following working day. However, the Coronavirus Center did not immediately confirm whether the proof can be issued in English.
Macau’s recovered patients are healthy
When questioned by the Times about the issue, Dr Alvis Lo of the Coronavirus Center explained that it depends on the severity of the disease in a patient. He pointed out that most of the 46 patients in Macau had their infection discovered at an early stage. While only one patient deteriorated into a severe state, the other patients experienced relatively mild symptoms.
“Most of them had their treatment commenced early,” Lo pointed out. Therefore, “the impact on their organs has not been significant.”
The medical doctor added that judging from their follow-up consultation, their conditions are satisfactory.
“However, after a major disease, such as a common pneumonia, the patient’s physical condition shall deteriorate to a certain extent,” explained Lo. “It’s understandable.”
He added that the outlook of patients recovering to a pre-Covid-19 condition is optimistic, adding that more scientific data is needed to predict whether a patient’s physical condition will worsen. AL