Government to reduce government services, close casinos in Macau, China, to limit the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus. Disruptions likely.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 04 Feb 2020 08:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 Feb 2020 16:00 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Macau (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least Feb. 19
  • Impact: Business closures, reduced government services, transport disruptions; possible protests

Summary
Authorities in Macau announced plans to close all 41 casinos in the special administrative region and reduce government services to help prevent the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The start date of the measures is unclear but will likely begin Feb. 5 and continue for at least 14 days. Authorities also encouraged other tourist-focused businesses to reduce operations and residents to remain at home.

Though officials have yet to enact any border restrictions, government leaders warned that border restrictions might be implemented if warranted. As of Feb. 4, travel between Macau and Hong Kong is only available via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge due to transport restrictions in Hong Kong. Authorities previously banned residents from Hubei Province from entering the territory Jan. 27. Mainland officials have stopped issuing personal visas to the territory as of Jan. 28.

Macau authorities continue to implement enhanced health screenings; thermal scanners are in place at all points of entry into the territory. Increased security is also likely at border crossings in mainland China. Passengers from mainland China must provide a health declaration form upon arrival.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Plan for transport disruptions, especially if traveling between Macau and Hong Kong and mainland China. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from mainland China. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.