Flights from Wuhan still allowed to fly to Macau despite pneumonia scare

Health authorities noted today that flights coming from Wuhan to Macau are still being allowed, with only body temperature and health inquiries conducted on the passengers.

According to information latest updated by the Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) on January 17, there are currently 7 weekly flights by Air China and 4 weekly flights by China Southern Airlines between the Hubei Province city where the new pneumonia coronavirus was discovered and Macau.

When questioned on why these flights had so far not been suspended during the now daily press conference on the virus outbreak, health authorities only stated that the same temperature and health checks enforced in other entry points have also been enforced in the Macau International Airport (MIA).

According to previous notice, the SS stated that in addition to carrying out a body temperature measurement test on airplanes between Wuhan and Macau, other visitors coming from flights from Mainland China will have to pass through areas of temperature control and health surveillance.

People who are detected with fever will be personally assessed, their temperature checked and their trip information and background assessed, with suspected cases referred, in an ambulance, to the special emergency ward of the Special Emergency Service of the Conde S. Januario General Hospital.

According to the health authorities themselves in the initial stages of the new virus incubation period fever or other symptoms might not be apparent.

However, according to the head of the SS Disease Control and Prevention Centre, Dr. Lam Chong, during these initial stages, the risk of contagion to other people is not very high.

The first confirmed case of the virus in Macau, revealed today, involved a 52-year-old woman from Wuhan who travelled from the Hubei Province to Zhuhai by high-speed train on January 19.

She entered Macau on the night of January 19 through the Gongbei Border and displayed throat pain and cough symptoms before being she went to to the Conde S. Januario General Hospital yesterday afternoon by her own accord, only developing fever and other symptoms afterward.

Three of the woman’s friends, also Chinese tourists, were said to be under observation at the moment, with authorities looking for more people who were in contact with the patient.

The current alert will remain at level 3, with only special preventive measures to be taken after this new imported case was reported.

It was also previously revealed that 500 Macau students were in Wuhan by the time of the first reports, almost six weeks ago, with DR. Lam stating the students were advised to take special health and hygiene measures and to avoid contacting with family relatives from Macau.

Chinese authorities have so far avoided imposing the same travel restrictions seen in past virus outbreaks, only advising the almost 11 million residents of the city not to leave during this period, and visitors to avoid the Hubei city.

Wuhan authorities were also reported to have installed 35 infrared temperature scanners and more than 300 portable thermometers in the city’s airports, bus and railway stations.

There are currently 440 confirmed cases of the virus newly discovered in Wuhan, and nine people have died so far, all in Wuhan.

The first case confirmed in Hong Kong was also revealed today, with the South China Morning Post reporting that the case involves a Mainland Chinese passenger thought to have travelled into the city on high-speed rail, having earlier been to Wuhan.