COVID-19 outbreak tally rises to 299, 3rd mass testing starts today

2022-06-27 03:56     BY Tony Wong    Comment:1

The latest tally of Macau’s current COVID-19 outbreak has reached 299, while the government will start its third mandatory citywide nucleic acid testing (NAT) drive at 9 a.m. today, but this time the duration of the programme will further be shortened to just 33 hours.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U announced the government’s decision to carry out a third round of mass nucleic acid tests during yesterday’s daily press conference about the city’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. She underlined that another round of mass tests is needed in order to cut off the transmission chains in the community.

Rapid antigen test kits, KN95 facemasks

Ao Ieong also announced everyone tested during the mass NAT drive this time will be handed five COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits for self-testing and 10 KN95 facemasks.

The new round of mandatory citywide nucleic acid tests will run for just 33 hours from 9 a.m. today to 6 p.m. tomorrow.

The current COVID-19 outbreak’s previous two rounds of mass nucleic acid tests lasted longer. The first one, which ran between Sunday and Tuesday last week, lasted 48 hours, while the second one, which was carried out between Thursday and Friday, lasted 39 hours.

The current outbreak’s first case was detected on June 18.

The mandatory tests cover all those who are currently in Macau, not just residents.

Ao Ieong underlined that residents and others must test themselves for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test kit at home before going to the citywide NAT stations for their tests. She said that those who have tested positive in their rapid antigen test and those living with them are not allowed to leave home, and they should call an ambulance by phoning 119, 120 or 2857 2222 that will take them to undergo a nucleic acid test.

The policy secretary also noted that a KN95 facemask can provide an 83 percent rate of protection against COVID-19 infection, higher than the 66 percent provided by a surgical mask. However, she said, the government does not recommend children use the KN95 facemask as it is less breathable than a surgical mask.

In addition, Ao Ieong also urged residents and others to undergo their mass nucleic acid tests at a testing station near their home or workplace, and avoid taking public transport en route to the testing stations.

Ao Ieong said that people should adhere to social distancing of at least one metre at the citywide NAT stations, and they should always properly wear a facemask, only except during “the moment” when they are having their swab taken.

Ao Ieong again urged residents and others to stay at home except for buying daily necessities or going to a NAT station.

Details of mass testing

The new round of the mass NAT drive that starts today will be carried out at 61 stations with a total of 356 sampling counters, comprising 41 general stations – where the tests are free of charge, 13 self-paid stations and seven special care stations. The one that ended on Friday was carried out at 53 stations that comprised 32 general stations, 14 self-paid stations and seven special care stations.

Special care stations provide walk-in tests for those who are unable to book a test online.

The booking system ( opened at 10 p.m. yesterday.

People in general can book a test to be carried out between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. at any of the seven special care stations.

The government yesterday urged people to carry a reusable bag when going to the mass NAT stations to collect the rapid antigen test kits and N95 facemasks.

A Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre statement yesterday said that those entering the mass NAT stations must display a negative result of a rapid antigen test on their Macau Health Code, otherwise they will be prohibited from entering the testing stations. Those who are unable to report their negative rapid antigen test result on the health code system can present a photo showing their negative result upon entering the testing stations, the statement said.

In addition, the statement said, a mobile sampling vehicle will be parked at a number of locations in Coloane at different times during the 33-hour mass NAT drive, providing walk-in tests for everyone.

Suggestions from Zhong’s team

During yesterday evening’s press conference, Ao Ieong said that yesterday morning the local government had a virtual meeting with a team led by Zhong Nanshan, the nation’s renowned virologist, pulmonologist and respiratory disease expert, which has been carrying out analyses and projections about the latest developments of Macau’s current COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Ao Ieong, Zhong’s team has concluded that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 that is besetting Macau is highly contagious because of which multiple rounds of mass nucleic acid tests and intensive epidemiological investigations are needed to bring an outbreak under control. The team, Ao Ieong said, has concluded that the Macau government has been rolling out swift measures to tackle the current outbreak.

However, Zhong’s team is of the view that as the novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in Macau, the local government will need to strengthen its ability to carry out epidemiological investigations and increase the number of testing stations run under its citywide NAT drives, according to Ao Ieong.

According to Ao Ieong, Zhong’s team has concluded that the current outbreak’s previous two rounds of mandatory mass nucleic acid tests, as well as testing programmes for key areas and key groups of people, and self-testing measures for everyone (rapid antigen tests), have been conducive to the local government’s ongoing work in an attempt to bring the outbreak under control.

Consequently, Ao Ieong said, the local government has decided to carry out a third mandatory citywide NAT drive. She also said that after listening to suggestions from Zhong’s team, the local government has decided to increase the number of testing stations run under the new round of the mass NAT drive.

Basic details of new cases

Meanwhile, Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long announced during yesterday evening’s press conference that the current outbreak’s latest number of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases has risen to 299, up by 109 cases from the figure announced during Saturday evening’s press conference.

According to Lo, 71 of the 109 new cases were reported on Saturday. When asked by reporters, Lo said that as of yesterday afternoon 38 more cases had been reported yesterday. Consequently, yesterday evening’s press conference only announced details about the total of the 261 cases that had been reported as of Saturday night.

According to Lo, 66 of the 261 cases had been classified as confirmed COVID-19 cases as they had come down with symptoms, while the other 195 had been classified as asymptomatic cases as they had not developed any symptoms.

Lo said that his bureau has provisionally concluded that 241 of the 261 cases involved 10 clusters, while the bureau was still carrying out its epidemiological investigations into the other 20 cases.

Govt adjusts criteria for setting up red lockdown zones

Meanwhile, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has announced that in response to the changes of the COVID-19 situation, the criteria for setting up a lockdown zone (red-coded zone) has been adjusted from buildings with two positive COVID-19 cases to be subject to control measures, to buildings with two flats or two families (collectively living in more than one room) with positive cases to be subject to control measures.

People living in a red-coded zone are not allowed the leave the building where they live during the lockdown.

Under the new criteria, buildings with only one flat or one family with positive COVID-19 cases to be subject to control measures will be classified as a precautionary zone (yellow-coded zone). Buildings that were originally classified as a lockdown zone (red-coded zone) that do not fulfil the new criteria will be re-classified as a precautionary zone (yellow-coded zone) after completion of at least one nucleic acid test (NAT).

People in yellow-coded zones are allowed to leave the building where they live but they are not allowed to enter a range of buildings, businesses and facilities such as restaurants, shops and government offices. Neither are they allowed to take a public bus. However, they can take a taxi but are required to inform the cabbie of their yellow Macau Health Code status. 

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U addresses yesterday’s press conference about the city’s current COVID-19 outbreak.
Photo: GCS

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  • visitors2022062711:292022-06-27 11:29

    本來,6月25日星期六的新聞發佈會表示,自6月25日星期六起,統一每日一次在新聞發佈會內報告過去一天24小時內的新增病例數字。而6月26日星期日的新聞發佈會,本來是報告過去一天 (6月25日星期六) 新增71例,累計261宗;然而,有記者提出,每天下午5時新聞發佈會才報告前一天整天新增的數字太滯後,所以,羅奕龍再公佈,當天凌晨零時直至記者會前,再新增38宗,所以,299宗就是這樣來的。因此,因應此記者提出的問題,羅奕龍表示自6月27日星期一起,統一在每日上午約9時以新聞稿公佈之前一天的新增數字。