Macau hits back with quarantine tit-for-tat

Local | Maisy Mok 25 Mar 2020

Hongkongers face restrictions on their last and only travel destination as Macau today implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from Hong Kong.

Those who are from Hong Kong and Taiwan must undergo a fortnight of medical observation at designated venues arranged by the health bureau, Macau Chief Executive Ho Lat-seng announced yesterday - one day after Hong Kong announced visitors from Macau would need to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Visitors from Hong Kong and Taiwan were previously allowed to enter Macau without any health restrictions from February 26.

The Macau government has also rented eight hotels for use as quarantine centers.

At the same time, Macau will ban all non-residents - including Hongkongers, Taiwanese and mainlanders who have been overseas within 14 days before entry - from entering the SAR as of midnight today.

The new prevention measures include a ban on transit flight services.

Visitors who fail to comply with the new regulation may be subjected to mandatory isolation in addition to corresponding criminal liabilities.

Ho said the implementation of the latest measures is to match travel restrictions enforced by Hong Kong as he defended a ban on the entry of all foreign non-resident workers on March 19.

"The newly introduced restrictions are all initiated to strengthen pandemic prevention, and there is no discrimination against foreign workers from any particular region," he said.

"At present, we have no plans to ban the sale of alcohol or close entertainment venues," said Ho when asked if he would follow Hong Kong's proposed measure to ban the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars.

Ho added that he did not wish to comment on policies implemented in other regions.

Up till March 23, Macau has a total of 25 confirmed coronavirus cases, 15 of them imported cases that were detected between March 15 and 23.

Ho said the latest patients are all in a stable condition.

He also said Macau previously saw 40 days of zero new cases before March 15. Before Monday, there were only three locally transmitted cases.

The latest imported case was a 41-year-old Indonesian worker who took flight CX718 from Indonesia to Hong Kong before entering Macau.

The man is the husband of a 42-year-old Indonesian woman, case 14, and the father of the patient in question in case 17. The three of them all arrived on March 17.

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