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Macau confirms 7th Wuhan virus case in a deserted city

Over in Hong Kong, the government announced it will allow civil servants and government employees to work at home until 2 February.

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The city of Macau is deserted with few people on the streets and using public transports. The traffic is minimal and residents are replying positively to government requests to stay home. Cinemas and other entertainment shows are closed and no public Chinese New Year festivities have been held.

Meanwhile the Macau government announced on Tuesday the city’s seventh case of coronavirus infection, a 67-year-old female resident of Wuhan.

According to a statement released by the Macau Government Information Bureau, the patient, a retiree, took the high-speed train from Wuhan to Guangzhou last Wednesday. She then took the intercity train from Guangzhou to Zhuhai last Thursday and entered Macau through the Barrier Gate checkpoint.

She came down with a fever on Sunday evening and was taken by ambulance to the emergency ward of the public hospital Monday morning where she tested positive to the Wuhan virus that same afternoon. The statement described her condition as stable.

All of Macau’s seven coronavirus patients are residents of Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province.

The Macau government has urged all tourists from Hubei to leave the city as soon as possible or enter quarantine facilities here. Since Monday Hubei residents can only enter Macau if they have a health declaration confirming that they are coronavirus-free. No visitors were recorded on Monday.

According to the Public Security Police, about 500 tourists from Hubei were still in Macau as of Monday. Four tourists from the province opted to stay at a quarantine facility in Coloane for a fortnight.

The local police have been assisting tourists from Hubei in their departure by providing transport from the hotels where they stayed to the main border checkpoint, the Barrier Gate.

Late last week, the number of tourists from Hubei in Macau exceeded 1,100, according to the police. The police said they went to 86 hotels on Monday where they identified around 150 Hubei residents who were taken to border checkpoints to return to the mainland. Macau has 121 hotels and guesthouses with about 38,000 guestrooms.

Reporters at the press conference raised the issue of Macau’s many illegal inns which are particularly popular with tourists from the mainland as they charge much lower room rates than their legal counterparts. The police said that they were always clamping down on illegal inns.

Meanwhile, Cloee Chao Sao Fong, president of the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, told reporters that due to the Wuhan virus menace all casinos should be closed for the time being. She pointed out that all of Macau’s cinemas have already been temporarily closed as a precautionary measure.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said last week that his government would not exclude the possibility of ordering the casinos’ temporary closure if the coronavirus situation deteriorates.

The government also reaffirmed the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau’s (DICJ) instruction that all casinos measure the body temperature of their staff members and gamblers  at all entry and exit points of their gaming premises.

According to the statement, there are 405 entry and exit points for gamblers and 47 for staff members in the city’s casinos. According to DICJ statistics, Macau’s six gaming operators own 41 casinos.

Macau’s number of visitor arrivals between Chinese New Year’s Eve on Friday and the third day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) Monday fell 69 per cent to 194,521 compared to the same CNY holiday period in 2019, the Macau Government Tourism Office announced today, citing immigration statistics collected by the Public Security Police (PSP).

On CNY’s Eve, 55,098 visitor arrivals passed through Macau border checkpoints, down by 34.6 percent compared to CNY’s Eve in 2019.Monday’s number of visitor arrivals dropped 84.1 percent to 36,092.

Between CNY’ Eve and Monday the number of mainland Chinese visitor arrivals declined 75.1 percent to 111,723.

Monday’s number of mainland Chinese visitor arrivals decreased 88.5 percent to 20,174, according to the PSP statistics.

There are currently 4,515 cases of the Wuhan virus in China and 106 fatalities. Hong Kong has 8 confirmed cases, Macau 7 and Taiwan 5.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong government announced it will allow civil servants and government employees to work at home until Feb 2, in a bid to reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the community. It also appealed to employers in the city to make similar arrangements. Staff responsible for emergency and necessary public services will resume work on Wednesday as usual.

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