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09 April 2020
Following the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Law on the Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases (2/2004) was enacted to maintain public health and security during outbreaks of infectious diseases. Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Macau government has adopted urgently needed measures under said law.
COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. In view of the speed with which the virus spread throughout China, Macau implemented various preventive measures under Law 2/2004. After more than 30 days without any new cases, some measures were revoked. However, in March 2020 – given the spread of the virus across the globe – Macau was forced to reinforce measures in order to contain the re-appearance of the virus in the region. As of 7 April 2020, Macau had 34 new imported cases.
According to Articles 10.1 and 10.2(1) of Law 2/2004, the government may require persons entering Macau to declare their health status. Under these provisions, all travellers entering Macau from 24 January 2020 must declare their health status with regard to symptoms of infectious diseases.
Under Article 10.2(2) of Law 2/2004, the government may require persons entering Macau to provide valid certificates of health. Under this provision, as of 27 January 2020, all persons who are travelling from the Hubei province or have been to the Hubei province within the past 14 days must present a medical certificate of no infection with COVID-19. Further, as of 20 February 2020, all holders of a non-resident worker's identification card who seek to enter Macau and have visited mainland China within 14 days prior to their entry must:
According to Article 10.2(3) of Law 2/2004, the government may require persons entering Macau to undergo medical examination. Under this provision, which has been in force since 20 February 2020, all persons arriving from Chinese high-incidence areas – such as Guangdong, Henan, Zhejiang, Chongqing, Beijing and Shanghai – within 14 days prior to their entry into Macau must submit to medical examination for six to eight hours before crossing the border. The same measure applies to Macau residents who cross the border an 'abnormal' number of times in one day.
Article 14.1(1) of Law 2/2004 states that all infected persons, as well as those who are suspected of having been infected or are at risk of infecting others, must submit to medical observation. As such, as of 17 March 2020, all persons arriving from countries or regions outside China must, at the discretion of the health authorities, undergo medical observation at a designated place for 14 days before resuming their affairs in Macau. Since 25 March 2020, the same measure has applied to individuals who have been in Hong Kong or Taiwan.
In accordance with Article 25.1(3)(4) of Law 2/2004, the government may restrict or prohibit from entering or leaving Macau non-residents who are:
Therefore, as of 18 March 2020, all non-Macau residents are banned from entering Macau unless they have residency in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Further, as of 19 March 2020, all holders of a non-resident worker's identification card are banned from entering Macau unless they have resident status in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. In addition, as of 25 March 2020, all residents of mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have travelled outside China in the past 14 days are banned from entering Macau.
Article 25.1(7) of Law 2/2004 authorises the government to restrict or prohibit certain activities or the operation of specific establishments that may cause the occurrence of or spread infectious diseases. Under this provision, on 4 February 2020 all venues where gambling activities were permitted to be undertaken were closed. This measure was revoked on 20 February 2020.
Further, on 4 February 2020 the following venues were closed:
This measure was lifted on 2 March 2020.
The government acted correctly and decisively in adopting the above measures, which effectively prevented the large-scale spread of COVID-19 in the region. It is hoped that the universal effort to defeat this pandemic will be as successful.
For further information on this topic please contact Pedro Cortés or Kong Seng Hin at Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés Advogados by telephone (+853 2856 2322) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés Advogados website can be accessed at www.lektou.com.
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