Macau can’t rule out that Delta variant carriers enter city from Guangdong: govt

2021-06-15 03:34     Comment:1

Addressing yesterday’s press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus situation, Tai Wa Hou, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, warned that the Macau government cannot rule out the possibility that someone carrying the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has entered or could enter Macau, due to the large number of people travelling between Macau and Guangzhou – which is being hit by transmissions of the Delta variant

Therefore, Tai urged residents to strictly comply with the Macau government’s recently-tightened COVID-19 prevention measures and to get inoculated against the novel coronavirus as soon as possible.

Tai has succeeded Alvis Lo Iek Long, who became the director of the Health Bureau (SSM) in April, as one of the three clinical directors of the public hospital. Previously, Tai attended the COVID-19 press conferences as the coordinator of the bureau’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Tai noted that the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in Guangzhou has been caused by transmissions of the mutant strain that was first detected in India and has been named Delta by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Tai noted that the Delta variant has a “very short incubation period, very fast transmission speed, and very high viral load”, because of which, he said, the COVID-19 epidemic in Guangzhou this time is characterised by very fast transmissions of the novel coronavirus. Tai said that the novel coronavirus has spread to many others quickly in Guangzhou merely after having a meal in a restaurant, adding that the COVID-19 transmissions in the provincial capital – which have so far lasted over three weeks – began with a senior citizen last month, triggering a third-generation spread merely within a week.

Tai said that the COVID-19 epidemic in Guangzhou this time had caused its government to carry out a mass nucleic acid test (NAT) drive for all 18 million residents. The Guangzhou government has had no choice but to suspend its COVID-19 vaccinations as it needs to allocate its medical human resources to carry out nucleic acid tests, Tai said.

Tai also noted that Macau’s 51st COVID-19 patient – who has been classified as an imported case – was diagnosed with carrying the Delta variant – scientifically known as B.1.617.

Tai underlined the “very frequent” movement of people between Macau and Guangzhou and the provincial capital’s neighbouring city of Foshan, because of which, he said, the Macau government could not rule out the possibility that someone carrying the Delta variant has entered or could enter Macau any time.

‘Secondary COVID-19 close contact’

Tai mentioned a case announced by the Macau government on Sunday in which a non-resident worker (NRW) employed in Macau who entered the city from Guangdong on Saturday has been classified by the mainland health authorities as “a close contact of a close contact” of a confirmed COVID-19 patient in Guangzhou. “A close contact of a close contact” of a confirmed COVID-19 patient is now known as a “secondary COVID-19 close contact”.

According to a Sunday announcement by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, the Zhuhai health authorities told its Macau counterpart on Sunday that the non-resident worker was in the same train carriage from Zhaoqing city’s Guangning county to Guangzhou South railway station on June 4 with a person who was later found to have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient in Guangzhou.

According to Sunday’s announcement, later that day the Macau Health Bureau (SSM) transferred the non-resident worker, who works in a Chinese restaurant in Avenida do Almirante Lacerda, to a quarantine facility for medical observation. The non-resident worker tested negative for COVID-19 in both a nucleic acid test and a serology test on Sunday.

Tai noted yesterday that the non-resident worker has entered the local community, adding that the case is one of the examples showing the reason why the Macau government has tightened its COVID-19 prevention measures for the whole community and for those travelling between Macau and Guangdong.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 threat to Macau, Tai urged residents to accurately record the places that they have visited, with the aim of assisting health officials in their work in carrying out an epidemiological investigation in case Macau reported new local COVID-19 cases. Tai reaffirmed that the Health Bureau is now developing a contact tracing mobile app, which would possibly be rolled out in the near future.

Tai underlined that residents should understand that Macau could be hit by a local COVID-19 transmission any time. “Residents are subject to infections with the novel coronavirus everywhere,” Tai said.

Tai Wa Hou, one of the three clinical directors of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, addresses yesterday’s press conference about the city’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Photo: GCS

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  • visitors2021061619:352021-06-16 19:35

    During the June 14 press conference, Tai also said that as of June 14, about 15,000 BioNTech doses were still in stock, while about 270,000 Sinopharm doses were still left. Tai also said that on average, about 7,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have recently been administered per day, 85 percent of which are Sinopharm jabs while the remaining 15 percent are BioNTech jabs.