Macau lifts immediate prevention status as border restrictions eased

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The Macao SAR government announced late Tuesday that it was terminating the state of immediate prevention after reaching seven days without any new cases of COVID-19 within the community.

The state of immediate prevention had been implemented on 3 August, soon after a family of four locals had returned positive results following a recent trip by one of the family members to Macau. Those results sparked a three-day mass testing blitz for all people in the city, while border restrictions were tightened to require anyone crossing the border between Macau and Guangdong Province to show a negative test result obtained within the previous 12 hours, down from the previous 48 hours.

Authorities reversed those border restrictions back to 48 hours on Tuesday while also lowering the state of immediate prevention to prevention.

Macau did not record any new local cases in the past seven days, and the Macau and Guangdong governments considered the importance of balancing the needs of Macau and Zhuhai residents that need to cross the borders, said Health Bureau official, Leong Iek Ho.

On what proved to be a day of positive news for Macau, the Public Security Police Force (PSP) revealed there had also been a significant increase in visitation on Monday 9 August the day after it was confirmed that all 716,000 COVID-19 tests in conducted during Macaus three-day blitz had come back negative. According to information from the PSP, there were a total of 74,500 entries and exits, improved from a daily average of just 23,000 during the first seven days of the month. Although only 2,800 were tourists, it represented a 49.2% increase compared with the previous day.

According to health officials, there had still been 35 people refusing to take a COVID-19 test as of Tuesday morning. All but one of those had since relented, while the remaining person was placed into a designated quarantine hotel where they will remain for the next two weeks.