The so-called “618” COVID-19 outbreak in Macau has been over for two months, but the good times may not last long after a newly positive case – identified as a 66-year-old female resident – was confirmed in Macau on Wednesday.
However, The Macao Government Tourism Office said it does not expect this will affect the return of tour groups from mainland China.
The Macau Health Bureau announced that it had received notification from the Zhuhai Health Department that a sample contained within a batch of 10 tests had turned up positive and that eight of the 10 people whose samples were in the affected batch were currently in Macau.
The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre immediately activated the response mechanism and arranged for the eight people to be tested. One of them, a 66-year-old female Macau resident, tested positive and her building classified as a Red Code area.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo said, “It is highly unlikely that the patient was infected in Macau, rather that she imported it from outside. The patient is asymptomatic for the time being.
“There is no need for the public to be alarmed, the government will take precautionary measures and will decide on future measures based on the results of the nucleic acid tests.”
Although there is only one new case in Macau for the time being, the number of new cases in mainland China continues to increase, with more than 1,200 new local cases on 25 October, including more than 100 in Guangdong Province.
The recurrence of the outbreak in mainland China, coupled with the confirmation of one new case in Macau, begs the question of how the resumption of package tours and electronic visas to Macau will be impacted?
Tours are scheduled to begin from next week with the first phase open to four provinces and one city – Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian. On Wednesday morning, the Health Bureau announced guidelines for receiving tour groups, limiting the number of people in each group, requiring tour guides to conduct COVID-19 checks at least every seven days and requiring tour participants to declare their itinerary and travel history.
But Lo reiterated that the outbreak in Macau has not affected the resumption of tour groups for the time being.
The MGTO also said it remains “fully committed to promoting the work of inbound tours to Macau, and there is a meltdown mechanism and measures in place to deal with the situation of being stranded due to the epidemic.
“The MGTO and the travel trade are preparing for the re-opening of tours to Macau and are awaiting the announcement of the plan by the mainland.”