Macau has confirmed a new case of Covid-19, ending a 78-day run of no new infections in the city. The announcement was made on Thursday evening by the local health authorities.
The case relates to a Philippine man holding Macau residency, who returned to Macau on Wednesday from Philippine capital Manila via Hong Kong International Airport.
The person took a special direct ferry service between Hong Kong airport and Macau’s Taipa Ferry Terminal. Such service, launched on June 17, had been introduced to enable the return to Macau of Macau residents currently overseas, allowing them to skip a mandatory 14-day quarantine currently applicable to people arriving in Hong Kong. People using the service are still required, upon arrival to Macau, to undergo quarantine at designated facilities.
No new Covid-19 cases had been reported in Macau since 8 April. The city avoided even a single death. All previous 45 patients that did contract the disease have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.
The announcement of a new Covid-19 case in Macau comes as local authorities have been discussing the introduction of some form of arrangement for quarantine-free travel with the neighbouring Chinese mainland province of Guangdong, and with Macau’s neighbouring Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong.
Macau’s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, said on Thursday – prior to the announcement of a new Covid-19 case in Macau – that he was watching to see whether there would be any “good news” in July regarding easing of regional intercity travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic. A number of investment analysts have said that such easing would be a vital step toward some sort of recovery of casino business in the city.
Although the respective boundaries between mainland China and Macau and between Macau and Hong Kong remain open for travel, a raft of restrictions – including a 14-day quarantine requirement in Zhuhai for most mainland residents wishing to visit Macau and then return via Zhuhai; and a 14-day quarantine in each direction for travel between Macau and Hong Kong – have hugely depressed tourism numbers and, consequently, gross gaming revenue in Macau.
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“We see that basically the ‘golden’ periods [for Macau's casino industry] are all concentrated in the second half of this year”
Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance