China’s National Health Commission says the mainland has seen a daily increase in the number of Covid-19 cases within its borders during the week-long holiday that began on October 1, and encompasses National Day.
The daily tally – mostly asymptomatic cases – recorded a continuous uptick starting from October 2, with October 5 seeing more than 1,000 new cases, the commission’s statistics indicated. As of October 6, mainland authorities had reported an additional 1,483 infections within 24 hours, most of them in either Xinjiang or Inner Mongolia.
The festivities around National Day were referred to in pre-pandemic times as ‘autumn golden week’ by Macau’s gaming and tourism sectors, as a sign of the period’s traditional importance to their business.
Before the holiday break, the National Health Commission had advised citizens against long-distance travel within the country, due to the risk of spreading Covid-19. Historically, many of Macau’s Chinese tourists have come from neighbouring Guangdong province.
On the eve of autumn golden week, the central authorities announced plans to restart – either in late October or early November – package tours from the mainland to Macau, and to recommence online issuance of exit visas for travellers wishing to visit Macau. The mainland remains to date, since the start of the pandemic, the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau.
On October 1, Macau recorded 37,427 tourist arrivals, its highest daily total since the mid-June local Covid-19 outbreak, according to preliminary data released by the city’s police.
A few days later, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Bureau, said that while the autumn holiday visitor data was encouraging, recovery needed to be “sustainable” in order to “help reinvigorate” the city’s tourism trade. That was understood to be a reference to the possibility of new declines in the daily tally of visitor arrivals to Macau after the holiday period.
Chinese media outlet Caixin reported on Friday that the countrywide rise in reported infections had prompted within some places on the mainland, a fresh round of restrictions – including quarantines and lockdowns. The news outlet said they were aimed at reducing the risk of Covid-19 spreading to other parts of the country, especially Beijing. The capital city is due in mid-October to host the ruling Communist Party’s National Congress, an event held every five years.
As an ongoing policy during the pandemic, anyone intending to travel to Macau from the mainland who happens to be coming from an area designated as “high risk” for Covid-19 transmission, faces quarantine-on-arrival in a designated facility in Macau.
The list now covers places in 25 of mainland China’s 31 provinces, autonomous regions, and major cities, according to the latest data from Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.
On the list are various communities located in the cities of Shenzhen, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shaoguan and Dongguan, in neighbouring Guangdong province, as well as places in the cities of Shanghai and Beijing.
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