Macau on alert over “pneumonia of unknown origin”

Authorities in Macau have raised the health threat alert to Level III (Serious) in the face of a “pneumonia of unknown origin” arising from Wuhan city in central China.

The countermeasures include installing temperature measuring equipment at border posts and authorizing police to assist in quarantine measures, should they become necessary.

So far, there have been five suspected cases and no confirmed cases of the illness in Macau, but it is beginning to spread in nearby areas of the mainland.

Concern is high due to memories of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2002-2003 that killed more than seven hundred people in the mainland, Hong Kong, and elsewhere.

The director of the Health Bureau, Lei Chin-Ion, said last week that the frequency of the reports from Wuhan should be considered “an abnormal situation.”

The government of the Philippines, too, has heightened its health monitoring of travelers from China in response to the Wuhan illness.