The Macau government says it might consider “adjusting” entry restrictions for people seeking to travel to the city from mainland China, as the spread of the Covid-19 virus on the mainland seems to be slowing down. The Macau government might however strengthen the restrictions concerning those seeking to travel to Macau from some European countries, said an official from the city’s Health Bureau.
During a press conference on Wednesday, the Health Bureau spokesperson said the current situation of the Covid-19 virus outbreak in mainland China was “easing,” with the number of infection cases in several provinces and cities stable for a number of days. Given that situation, the Macau government might consider “adjusting” some of the entry restrictions for people arriving from the mainland, the person added, without specifying what measures could be altered.
Mainland China – where the virus was first detected – has recorded some of its lowest number of new infections for a number of days, with just 19 being reported on Monday. But there was an uptick in new confirmed cases of infections, reportedly driven by infected individuals arriving from abroad. China had 24 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission.
The Macau government has implemented quarantine rules on residents of mainland China arriving the city, and since February began enforcing medical checks for tourists who have been to any area with high incidence of the novel coronavirus – including places outside China – within a 14-day period.
Authorities in mainland China have stopped issuing from late January – and until further notice – individual visit scheme (IVS) visas for visits to Macau by mainland residents. Tour groups from the mainland to Macau are also suspended. The authorities have said the measures were part of the efforts to cut travel across China and so reduce the risk of further spread of the coronavirus.
In Wednesday’s press briefing, the Health Bureau representative said also that the government was mulling placing more European countries on its list of “high-risk areas,” meaning that people arriving from those destinations would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Currently, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, France, Spain and Germany are on the government’s list of “high-risk areas”. The government has also urged residents to avoid travel to those countries.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said the outbreak was now a “pandemic” – which it defined as “the worldwide spread of a new disease” – as cases outside China had soared 13-fold in two weeks.
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