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10 Mar 2020 | 11:28 PM UTC

Macao: Post-entry restrictions for travelers from Germany, France, Spain, Japan March 10 /update 1

Travelers from Germany, France, Spain, and Japan must submit to medical observation as of March 10; adhere to all government directives

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Event

The government of Macao announced on Monday, March 9, that all individuals having traveled to Germany, France, Spain, or Japan in the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the territory will be subject to a medical examination upon entry to Macao due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Health officials - at their discretion - as of 12:00 (local time) on Tuesday, March 10, may order any individual from the aforementioned countries to undergo a 14-day medical observation at a designated facility. This is in addition to identical directives for travelers from several areas in mainland China with a high incidence of COVID-19 (including Beijing and Shanghai among other cities), Iran, Italy, and South Korea. All non-resident visitors having traveled from Hubei province in the 14 days prior to entry to Macao will be denied entry to the territory unless they can provide a medical certificate of good health.

Officials announced on Tuesday that schools are due to resume classes no later than April 20.

As of Monday, the Health Bureau of Macao has recorded no new COVID-19 cases in the last 34 days. Health officials have confirmed a total of ten COVID-19 cases in the territory, however, all ten individuals were confirmed recovered and discharged from hospital as of Friday, March 6.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.