The government of Macau has reportedly reacted to the threat being posed by the rising prevalence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus by announcing that it will soon institute a two-week ban on all international air arrivals.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the move from the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center is due to go into effect from Sunday morning to forbid the territory’s Macau International Airport from accepting travellers from any nation other than China. The source detailed that this coming prohibition, which is to remain in place until midnight on January 23, was revealed at the same time as the nearby jurisdiction of Hong Kong instituted an analogous ban on arrivals from eight foreign nations encompassing the United Kingdom, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, France, the Philippines, India and the United States.
Despite being home to almost 683,000 people, Macau has chalked up a mere 79 cases of coronavirus, which include the potentially-lethal Delta and Omicron variants of the ailment, since February of 2020. However, two of these infections were reportedly recorded over only the last few days and subsequently attributed to holidaymakers who had been staying in quarantine hotels after arriving from destinations as distant as Singapore and Thailand.
Despite having not yet recorded a death linked to coronavirus, the government of Macau is reportedly nevertheless growing increasingly concerned with the swelling rates of global infection at the hands of the highly-contagious Omicron variant of the malady. The former Portuguese enclave’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center purportedly noted that its coming ban on foreign air arrivals should help to protect the local population and further assist efforts at keeping this new strain from running rampant throughout the whole of southern China.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that Macau’s move comes as the central Chinese city of Xian has found itself in an extended lockdown after recording approximately 1,800 cases of coronavirus courtesy of a recent mass testing blitz. However, air travellers from this metropolis of some 13 million inhabitants were purportedly already being obliged alongside those from a number of other mainland municipalities to undergo a two-week quarantine before being allowed to enter Macau.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the coronavirus outbreak in Xian was ultimately traced back to a flight that arrived from Pakistan last month and led the central government to institute the largest localized lockdown since the early-2020 sequestration of the eleven million residents of Wuhan. All of these moves purportedly moreover come less than four weeks before Beijing is set to begin hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics and despite Omicron cases having been recorded in at least three mainland provinces.