A total of 1,601 people were in the midst of a 14-day quarantine in appointed hotels across Macau as of Monday, including 1,430 local residents.
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, the SAR government urged students who are studying abroad to return to Macau. As of 23 March, 860 students had returned from high risk areas such as Europe and North America, with eight of those since confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.
Grand Lapa Hotel, located on the Macau Peninsula, has been named as the SAR’s eighth quarantine venue, joining Pousada Marina Infante, Golden Crown China Hotel, Regency Art Hotel, Grand Coloane Resort, Treasure Hotel, Metropole Hotel and the two-star guest house San Tung Fong Commercial Inn.
Macau has an arrangement with Hong Kong to send shuttle buses to Hong Kong International Airport in order to bring Macau residents back via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge until 31 March. From 17 to 23 March, a total of 990 students returned to Macau via the government’s shuttles, while another 780 residents are registered to return between now and 31 March.
As stay home quarantine was allowed until 19 March, 657 residents are currently self-quarantining at home as per the Health Bureau’s restrictions.
Inside Asian Gaming spoke with one Macau resident currently in quarantine – a student recently returned from the United Kingdom – who shared his experience on life under quarantine in Macau.
The student arrived at Hong Kong International Airport from London via Doha last Saturday on a flight filled primarily with students. The group waited at the airport for around eight hours before heading to Macau on one of the government’s shuttles. They then waited another five hours at Macau’s border for further medical checks and to complete entry procedures. The entire process took more than 12 hours, he said, before he eventually checked in to the Treasure Hotel in Taipa at midnight.
The SAR government paid all fees for Macau ID holders but have imposed very strict requirements on guests quarantined in hotels. Everyone is quarantined individually in a room and not allowed to leave their room throughout the 14-day period. As most of the people under quarantine are students, parents are allowed to apply to accompany their under-aged children in hotels.
All corridors in the hotels are blocked and entrances are guarded by the police. Guests are strongly recommended to stay in their room and are not even allowed to walk the corridors or head to the hotel lobby. The government has warned that leaving the room is a criminal action and has “urged” guests to strictly follow restrictions.
Deliveries from families are allowed to be sent to hotels once each day between 5pm and 7pm, but guests are not allowed to send out their luggage or any other belongings. Hotels are managed by hotel staff in cooperation with health personnel, and meals are delivered three times a day to all guests.
“They knock on your door when they deliver your meals or stuff from your family, then they leave it in front of your door,” the student told IAG. “You then open the door to get it.”
This way, there is no contact between quarantined guests and staff.
Those quarantined must also undergo testing for COVID-19 twice during the 14-day period. Up to 23 March, two guests at Golden Crown China Hotel have tested positive and been relocated to hospital.
WiFi is the only means for quarantined guests to communicate with the outside world, although we are told the connection is not stable.
In the meantime, the student told IAG, “I haven’t received my virus test yet, but it should be soon.
“Life staying in this room is literally boring, I do nothing. I just chat with family and friends, play games, learn stuff about the virus, watch Netflix and sleep. That’s all.”
He still has 11 days to go, but he knew returning home to Macau would be less stressful than staying in the UK alone … and staying in a hotel room is much better than being sent to the hospital.