A newly-confirmed Covid-19 case involving a Macau ID holder brought home on Thursday aboard one of two repatriating flights sanctioned but not chartered by the city’s government, will not put at risk Macau’s existing quarantine-free travel bubble covering most places in mainland China, a Macau health official said on Friday.
“This time – in a fully-controlled setting – we were able to detect this [Covid-19] case immediately… This does not affect our existing travel ties with the various places within mainland China,” said Alvis Lo Iek Long, clinical director at Macau public health facility Conde S. Januário Hospital, at the Friday press briefing.
Adjustments in the existing travel policies with mainland China would only happen were there to be “sporadic” Covid-19 infections, or “cluster” cases detected in the local community, Mr Lo noted.
“When an imported case happens like this one… detected in a closed-loop situation… this will not affect our existing entry policy,” Mr Lo added.
The local authorities are using the term “closed loop” to describe their planning to minimise risk to public health in the local population, after permitting 109 Macau ID holders to return home from an aggregate of 14 overseas locations – some deemed “high-risk” locations for Covid-19 – via two Air Macau commercial flights from Tokyo.
One of those brought home – a 43-year-old female – tested positive on arrival at Macau International Airport, despite having a negative test result before leaving Dubai, her prior place of stay. After leaving Dubai on Wednesday (January 20), she had transit stops in Singapore and Tokyo.
She has been taken to Conde S. Januário Hospital. Eight people said to have prolonged contact with her on the Tokyo to Macau leg of the journey, have been taken to a public health facility in Coloane for screening, while the other passengers and the crews from the two flights – all of whom initially tested negative on arrival – have been taken to Grand Coloane Resort, a local hotel, for a 21-day quarantine, during which they will have three more tests.
Before the latest case – the 47th catalogued in Macau – no new Covid-19 infection had been recorded since late June.
The two Air Macau flights from Tokyo brought home Macau ID holders from, respectively: the United Kingdom; Portugal; Japan; the Republic of Ireland; the Netherlands; the United States; Switzerland; Australia; South Korea; Indonesia; France; the United Arab Emirates; Spain; and Italy.