In a continued effort by the national Chinese government to prevent and control novel coronavirus-related pneumonia, the China National Immigration Administration has suspended the issuance of travel permits to Macao and Hong Kong special administrative regions for Chinese mainland tourists.
After special measures were taken to control the entry of residents of Hubei and Wuhan province, police authorities announced on Tuesday that no resident of these two provinces had entered Macao since Monday — as of Tuesday, 1,147 have left the territory.
Since Sunday, over 100 flights to the mainland and Taiwan have been cancelled, with an additional 12 departures and 11 arrivals cancelled on Tuesday.
All ferry services between Macao, Kowloon and Tuen Mun in the New Territories will be suspended starting Thursday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the possibility of transmissions. The ferry link between Macao and the Shun Tak Centre terminal will continue for the time being.
Locally, the Macao government has announced the closure of all public services on the 30th and 31st of January, which have been closed from Monday to Wednesday due to Chinese New Year holidays. The banking sector will likewise stay closed until next Monday, 3rd of February.
The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) announced on Tuesday that its UNESCO World Heritage-protected ex-Leal Senado building headquarters will be closed starting Wednesday as precautionary measures linked to its popularity with tourists.
Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong had asked on Tuesday that employees stay at home and avoid areas where there are concentrations of people to prevent the coronavirus from further spreading in Macao. As for civil servants returning to work next Monday, they must inform respective services if they had made a trip to Wuhan province or Wuhan city. If they had, they are required to remain in isolation for 14 days.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U also announced on Tuesday that official government-subsidised daycare centres are closed as of that same day. She also asked that private daycare centres accompany this official government decision. Schools will remain closed until next week — a decision to reopen them will be taken in due course.
The government also reaffirmed that there is no need for panic buying as Macao has a “sufficient” supply of foodstuffs, with government inspectors checking on supply in retail outlets twice a day.
Macao’s six gaming operators have now created special transportation services for non-resident workers to move between Macao and the neighbouring municipality of Zhuhai where many reside. These transportation services will operate across the Lotus border.
By midnight Monday, there had been 4,515 confirmed infections of the highly contagious pneumonia on the mainland. As of Wednesday morning, there are now eight cases in Hong Kong, seven in Macao and seven in Taiwan. Aside from the seven confirmed cases in Macao, there are 108 suspected cases, 88 of which were excluded. 15 are in the testing phase and another 16 in isolation.
Here’s the official government website to stay up-to-date on coronavirus news: http://www.ssm.gov.mo/PreventWuhanInfection/