Health screenings at local borders lasting six to eights hours – Health authorities

Health Bureau Director, Lei Chin Ion, indicated today that people covered by the new Covid-19 screeneing and test measures enforced today in local borders have had to wait between six to eight hours for procedures to be completed.

Starting from midnight of today tourists that in the past 14 days prior to entering Macau were in regions considered to be of a high risk of Covid-19 contagion have been tested for Covid-19.

Authorities have so far only stated that high-risk areas are defined as regions that have recorded a large number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, with Henan, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces or Beijing and Shanghai currently considered as such, but with this list to be regularly updated according to the evolution of the pandemic.

Since Guangdong – which has recorded so far recorded more than 1,000 cases – is considered a high-risk area, any tourist entering Macau through its land borders with Zhuhai has to undergo testing.

Hong Kong is not currently considered a high-risk area.

The screening is being conducted at the Macao Federation of Trade Unions Workers Stadium near the Gongbei Border and in the Taipa Ferry Terminal.

“A tourist that arrives Macau will be questioned to see if comes from a higher risk area. If so, a Public Security Police officer agent will help him go to an inspection area. Then medical staff will inquire about symptoms and travel history, with body temperature checks also conducted. Every two to two hours new medical examinations will take place. If they have symptoms they will be transfered to the hospital. If no symptoms are recorded after six or eight hours that person will be released […]” the SS Director, Lei Chin Ion, said.

One of the reasons given by the SS Director for the long waiting period needed was the fact that some people might have taken medications to reduce their fever before crossing the border, so more time is needed to assess their real health conditions.

This screening also applies to Macau residents living in Mainland China and who cross the border for an “unusual” number of times a day.

Yesterday police authorities had indicated that local residents who crossed the borders more than three times per day would be targetted but admitted today that the actual number of crossings is not yet “fixed”.

Some 46 Macau residents that fell under this category were tested today. More than people – local residents and tourists – in overall had to undergo health tests until 4:00pm.

Three Macau residents were transferred to the Conde S. Januario Hospital after the screening, with two feeling unwell and one having breathing problems. However, they were said to be low-risk cases of infection.

The number of entries by tourists from midnight of today to 4:00pm has dropped by 15.5 per cent since the same period yesterday to some 2,920, with the number of Macau resident entries falling by 20 per cent to 7,274.

In the last 24 days, the number of entries and exits in local borders has fallen by 81 per cent year-on-year to 2.4 million.

According to Lei there are currently one doctor and one nurse assigned for every 50 people tested, with that number to be adjusted according to the number of people screened.

Authorities are also considering if one more screening station should be added at the Macao Federation of Trade Unions Workers Stadium to reduce health risks from a large gathering of people being tested.

Meanwhile also starting from today non-resident workers coming into Macau, who have been in Mainland China in the past 14 days, will be subjected to quarantine in Zhuhai.

Those who arrive via airplane to Macau International Airport or via HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will have to undergo the quarantine in Pousada Marina Infante, paying some MOP5,600 for the process.

The number of non-resident blue card holders who entered Macau today as of 4:00pm has decreased by 98 per cent since yesterday to only 416.

The current restrictions allow for some workers to ask for an exemption, including airline workers, such as stewardesses, or non-resident workers involved in providing fresh food supplies to the city.

It was also revealed that overseas workers who are not from mainland China and have not been in the country in the last 14 days, such as for example Filipino workers arriving at the Macau International Airport, will have to fill a health questionnaire and measure their body temperature, but if they do not show any symptoms they will be allowed to enter without having to undergo quarantine.