COVID-19 outbreak tally rises to 36

2022-06-21 04:07     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

Macau reported five new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases yesterday, raising the latest number of cases from 31 to 36 in the outbreak that was detected on Saturday. 

Two of the five new cases reported yesterday were detected by the ongoing mandatory citywide nucleic acid testing (NAT) drive, which will end at 12 p.m. today.

The government said yesterday the situation indicated that a mass NAT drive was needed to identify possible hidden cases.

The government also said that the outbreak’s 36 cases detected so far involve two clusters. No new cluster was detected yesterday.

While the government had still not identified the cases’ sources of infection as of last night, it has provisionally identified a possible connection between the two clusters, i.e., how someone in one of the two clusters might have been infected by someone in the other cluster.

The outbreak was detected on Saturday night.

During Sunday evening’s press conference about the outbreak – when the then number of new cases stood at 21, details of the 21 cases were announced. During yesterday evening’s press conference, Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long and official Leong Iek Hou announced details on the connections among the 36 cases.

Lo said that as of 4 p.m. yesterday, the outbreak’s number of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases had risen to 36.

The 36 COVID-19 carriers, aged between eight months and 89, comprise 25 females and 11 males. According to Lo, 10 of the 36 cases have been classified as confirmed COVID-19 cases as they have come down with symptoms, while the other 26 have been classified as asymptomatic cases as they had not developed any symptoms as of yesterday afternoon.

Lo said that according to the latest findings of the Health Bureau’s epidemiological investigations, it has provisionally concluded that the 36 cases involve two clusters, which “are connected in a way”.

The first cluster consisted of 23 people, including 13 non-resident workers living in one flat, their neighbours, three colleagues in a restaurant in Nam Van of one of the 13 non-resident workers, and two patrons of the restaurant, Padre Modern Cuisine located in Avenida da Praia Grande near Government Headquarters.

The 13 non-resident workers (NRWs) living together are all from Myanmar, including seven domestic helpers and a restaurant waiter.

At the time of the press conference, the second cluster consisted of 13 people, including a prison staff member and his two family members (wife and daughter), a number of his relatives, a colleague, and his neighbours.

Leong announced during the press conference her bureau’s provisional conclusions on a possible connection between the two clusters. 

According to Leong, a person connected to the second cluster, a case which has recently been reported in Zhuhai, works in a siu mei (Cantonese roasted or barbecued meat) shop in Rua da Emenda in San Kio neighbourhood. One of the non-resident workers of the first cluster often walked past the siu mei shop, Leong said.

The Health Bureau believed that the non-resident worker might have been infected through this channel and might have taken the virus to the flat, Leong said.

Leong said that a relative of the prison staff member is the owner of a fruit stall next to the siu mei shop.

300 students ‘might be affected’ 

In addition, Leong also revealed that the wife of the prison staff member is a teacher in the primary section of Hou Kong School. Leong said that around 300 students might be affected by the case, adding that her bureau will assess how many of them would need to undergo quarantine.

The daughter of the prison staff member is a kindergarten student at Sacred Heart Canossian College. Leong said that all her classmates have been transferred to quarantine for observation. 

Meanwhile, according to a statement by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre late last night, as of 10 p.m. yesterday 585,666 people had had their swabs collected for COVID-19 tests under the mass NAT drive, 360,211 of whom had come up with a negative result. However, as of 10 p.m. yesterday 11 batches of pooled samples had preliminarily tested positive, including the two cases confirmed yesterday by the mass NAT drive.

A batch of pooled samples has 10 swabs taken from testees, also known as “10 mix into 1”. This sampling technique enables laboratories to come up with results in a much shorter time. However, if a batch of pooled samples tests positive, the 10 respective testees will need to have their swabs taken again in order for health officials to identify which of them really tested positive for COVID-19.

More buildings locked down 

Meanwhile, as of last night several additional residential buildings across the city had been newly classified as red code zones (lockdowns) or yellow code zones. Those living in a red code zone are barred from leaving their home except when they collect food and other daily necessities at government counters set up in the area, while those living in a yellow code zone are allowed to leave their home but are barred from entering various facilities and taking public transport.

Last night, nine buildings and two shops (Padre Modern Cuisine and the siu mei shop) were classified as “red code” zones, while five buildings were classified as “yellow code” zones. Details are available online in English at

In addition, all public transport passengers (public bus, taxi and the Light Rail Transit) now must present a green Macau Health Code, i.e., drivers or staff always ask every passenger to show it, otherwise they cannot use the transport.

Meanwhile, Lo said during yesterday’s press conference that the government will complete setting up an isolation facility at the Macau East Asian Games Dome in Cotai today at the earliest, which will be ready to house COVID-19 carriers if needed. In addition, Lo said, the government has arranged a number of hotels for isolation facilities, which can come into use today if needed.

Meanwhile, Macau’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 93 last night, while the number of asymptomatic cases amounted to 222, according to the Health Bureau. 

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long (left) speaks during yesterday’s press conference about the city’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, as Leong Iek Hou, who heads the SSM Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division, looks on.
Photo: Tony Wong

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