SSM to transfer all those who have been at Nanjing airport to quarantine

2021-07-27 04:33     Comment:5

Urgent measure affects about 150 people

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced yesterday evening that all those in Macau who had been at Nanjing airport on July 14 or after must undergo quarantine at a designated hotel for a certain period of time – regardless of when they entered Macau.

Their quarantine will last up to 14 days after they had left Nanjing airport.

They were required to report to the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On along with their air ticket information by 11 p.m. yesterday from where the Health Bureau (SSM) would transfer them to one of the government’s “quarantine hotels”.

According to a statement by the centre, about 60 people to be quarantined had reported to the terminal by 9:30 p.m. There was no follow-up statement on the number later last night.

The Macau government’s urgent measure came as Nanjing has been constantly reporting new COVID-19 cases with most of them connected to the airport. The Health Bureau has rolled out the new measure after taking into consideration that a new asymptomatic novel coronavirus case reported in Zhongshan last week and a new asymptomatic COVID-19 case confirmed in Zhuhai on Sunday both originated from Nanjing airport.

The centre, which holds its weekly press conference every Friday, made the announcement during a hastily-convened press conference yesterday evening.

About 150 people in Macau are required to undergo hotel quarantine due to the new measure. Upon their arrival at the Pac On ferry terminal, they were required to undergo a nucleic acid test (NAT), before being transferred to one of the government’s “quarantine hotels”. The Health Bureau will also arrange for their family members to undergo a one-off nucleic acid test later.

The ongoing COVID-19 transmissions in Nanjing, the provincial capital of eastern Jiangsu province, started early last week at its airport. Since then Nanjing has reported 75 new local COVID-19 cases, and the city reported 38 new local cases on Sunday, the highest number in the current wave of COVID-19 transmissions, according to statistics from the provincial health commission.

During yesterday’s press conference, Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo Iek Long warned that Macau is now facing a higher risk of having COVID-19 community transmissions due to the two novel coronavirus cases from Nanjing reported in Zhuhai and Zhongshan, where many Macau residents and non-resident workers live.

Zhongshan and Zhuhai cases

Zhongshan reported a new asymptomatic COVID-19 case on Thursday last week, a 23-year-old woman who flew from Nanjing Lukou International Airport to Zhuhai on Monday last week. Upon arrival in Zhuhai, she caught a bus to Zhuhai railway station next to the Gongbei checkpoint, from where she caught a train to Zhongshan, where she works. The woman underwent a nucleic acid test on Wednesday last week, which came up with a positive result the next day.

Zhuhai reported a new asymptomatic COVID-19 case on Sunday night, a 29-year-old man who also flew from the Nanjing airport to Zhuhai on Monday last week. The man checked into a hotel that night. The next day, the man attended a company meeting in a commercial building, and had a dinner with his colleagues in a restaurant that night. On Wednesday last week, the man attended another company meeting in the morning, and later the same day his employer told him to go to a hospital for a medical examination as he had travelled from Nanjing, after which he was transferred to a quarantine hotel for medical observation. The man tested negative for COVID-19 in four consecutive nucleic acid tests which were taken on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week, before testing positive for the novel coronavirus in a follow-up test on Sunday night.

Free NAT arranged for those who visited certain places in Zhuhai last week

Lo also announced yesterday that in response to the new COVID-19 case in Zhuhai, the Macau Health Bureau has implemented a new measure, according to which the bureau will arrange for those in Macau who had visited the same places as the COVID-19 patient in Zhuhai between Monday and Wednesday last week to undergo three nucleic acid tests in a period of seven days.

Lo urged all those who had visited the same locations as Zhuhai’s latest COVID-19 patient between Monday and Wednesday last week to report their visit on their Macau Health Code – which has added a new travel history option for this situation, soon after which the Health Bureau will contact them to undergo the three free of charge nucleic acid tests.

Lo also pointed out that Zhuhai is carrying out a mass NAT drive for everyone yesterday and today, adding that the results will be significant for Macau to assess the COVID-19 risk it is facing now. Lo said that in case positive cases are detected in Zhuhai’s NAT drive, Macau would necessarily need to roll out stricter COVID-19 measures.

Lo also noted that many residents have still not been inoculated against COVID-19 as they think that Macau is safe from COVID-19. Lo said that a number of COVID-19 developments – in the mainland – that have posed a risk to Macau over recent months have indicated that Macau does not necessarily always enjoy safety from COVID-19 community infections.

Lo said that residents should always be vigilant against COVID-19 risk, meaning that they should be aware that Macau may be hit by COVID-19 community transmissions at any time. The health chief urged residents to be inoculated against COVID-19 as soon as possible at a time when Macau continues to be free from COVID-19 community infections.

Guangzhou’s epidemic was incentive for COVID-19 jabs

Also addressing yesterday’s press conference, Tai Wa Hou, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, also urged residents to get their COVID-19 jabs as soon as possible. Tai noted that only a few hundred people got their COVID-19 jabs per day initially after the launch of the government’s vaccination programme in February, before the number of people getting their jabs per day increased to the peak of around 10,000 four week ago when Guangzhou was hit by local COVID-19 transmissions.

Tai said that since Guangzhou’s local COVID-19 epidemic ended late last month, the number of people in Macau getting inoculated against COVID-19 has “quickly” decreased to the level similar to what it was at the launch of the local vaccination drive.

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long addresses yesterday’s press conference about the city’s novel coronavirus situation. Photo: GCS

Those who have visited Nanjing airport queue up outside the Taipa Ferry Terminal last night from where the Health Bureau (SSM) would transfer them to one of the government’s “quarantine hotels”. Photo Courtesy of TDM

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