Wanzai Port opening marred by imported coronavirus cases

A ferry departs from Macau to Wanzai Port in Zhuhai

The resumption of ferry services at the Wanzai Port yesterday after a nearly four-year break was marred by the developing Wuhan coronavirus situation in Macau.

Yesterday, Macau’s Chief Executive and Guangdong’s vice-provincial governor, together with other government officials from both Macau and Guangdong Province, presided over the reopening of Wanzai Port.

The Zhuhai side expects to record between 8,000 and 10,000 daily crossings on average at the new port.

Zhuhai authorities will open the port from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, as opposed to the previous arrangement when the port was only open for seven hours per day.

In total, there will be 110 ferries traveling between Inner Harbour Ferry Terminal and Wanzai Ferry Terminal.

The arrival hall on the Macau side will consist of six e-crossing channels and two manual channels. Another three back-up manual channels will be available inside a visa office.

In total, these channels are expected to register 1,710 crossings per hour. At the departure hall, there will be seven e-channels and two manual channels, and another three back-up manual channels. These channels can cope with 2,130 crossings per hour. Departure and arrival halls combined, the immigration checkpoints are capable of handling 3,840 crossings every hour.

On the Zhuhai side, there will be six e-channels in both the departure and arrival halls. Zhang Shili, an official from the neighboring city on the mainland, told the media on the sidelines of yesterday’s reopening ceremony that the Zhuhai side can complete a single crossing in 10 seconds. “The crossing time is shorter, and the experience is better,” said Zhang.

Today is the last day of the year according to the lunar calendar. Zhang estimated that a peak in crossings may occur on the third and fourth days of the Lunar New Year, January 27 and 28. He predicted that approximately 50,000 crossings would be recorded during the first seven days of the Lunar New Year.

“We expect that Macau residents and non-local workers living in Macau will choose to live in Zhuhai [in the future],” said Zhang, testifying to the improved convenience of the transportation facility. “After Wanzai’s transportation becomes better, more non-local residents will choose to live here.”.

The Zhuhai government has already planned a railway station two minutes away from Wanzai Port. The station is an extension of several of Guangdong’s railway systems and will connect Wanzai to Guangzhou and Jiangmen.

Yesterday, it was originally arranged that a representative of Zhuhai’s customs authority would be interviewed by the media on the sidelines of the ceremony. However, Zhang was also questioned about Zhuhai’s preparations for the Wuhan pneumonia situation.

Zhang said that Wanzai Port will carry out body temperature monitoring and that once a person with an unusually high body temperature is detected, they will be put in an isolation area at the port and later sent to a Zhuhai hospital for medical observation.

After Zhang’s reply, the media was told to save similar questions for the Zhuhai customs authority representative. Once Zhang had finished answering questions however, the media was informed that there would be no interview with the customs authority representative.

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