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Macau mourns its first 2 COVID-19 deaths, 3 more rounds of mass tests this week

2022-07-04 03:52     BY Tony Wong    Comment:3

Macau mourns its first 2 COVID-19 deaths, outbreak tally rises to 784, 3 rounds of mass tests this week

Macau yesterday reported its first two COVID-19 deaths, two chronically ill female senior citizens from a nursing home, while the city reported 90 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in a day, on Saturday, raising the latest tally of its current outbreak to 784.

The government also announced yesterday that it will carry out three rounds of mandatory citywide nucleic acid tests (NATs) in six days, which will start today, but those aged three or below will be exempted from the three rounds of mass tests. Each round will last 33 hours.

During yesterday evening’s daily press conference about the viral menace, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U said that this week will be a “very critical” period for the government to bring the current outbreak under control, urging various businesses in the city to suspend or minimise their operations and everyone to stay at home unless necessary.

The policy secretary also said that due to the spread of a more contagious Omicron subvariant, Macau’s current fight against COVID-19 is even more difficult than the one in Shanghai earlier this year.


2 COVID-19 fatalities

Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced the two COVID-19 deaths in a statement yesterday afternoon.

Both were from the Obra das Mães nursing home for senior citizens in Ha Van district, aged 100 and 94 respectively.

The statement underlined that the two COVID-19 cases were detected by the government’s frequent rapid antigen tests (RATs) and nucleic acid tests (NATs) for nursing homes “in the early stage”. Both patients had a low viral load, with a cycle threshold (CT) value of 30 to 40, when their COVID-19 infection was detected, the statement said. A high CT value indicates a low viral load.

Although both were transferred to isolation early after the onset of COVID-19, the statement said, they “eventually passed away” after several days of treatment, due to the “very infirm” conditions from their chronic diseases. Both were undergoing isolation treatment at the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane.

According to the statement, Macau’s first COVID-19 fatality is the 100-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. The statement underlined that she had not come down with a fever, cough and shortness of breath during the treatment, until the wee hours of yesterday when her condition deteriorated, and she died after an attempt to resuscitate her had failed.

The woman suffered various chronic diseases such as hypertension, brain degeneration and fractures, and she was bedridden that required long-term care by others, the statement said, adding that she had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 “for personal reasons”.

The second fatality, according to the statement, is the 94-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The statement underlined that she had not come down with a fever during the treatment, until yesterday morning when her condition suddenly deteriorated due to her chronic diseases, and she died after emergency treatment to save her life had failed.

The woman, who suffered various chronic diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and stroke, required long-term care by others, the statement said, adding that she had previously received two inactivated COVID-19 jabs.

During yesterday’s press conference, Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo Iek Long underlined that the first chest CT scan of both senior citizens did not shown pneumonia, adding that both had been prescribed antiviral medicines instantly after they were admitted into isolation.

During the press conference, Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) President Wilson Hon Wai said that a total of 14 COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in the Obra das Mães nursing home, which were reported between Tuesday and Thursday last week, comprising 11 staff members and three senior citizens living there, including the two COVID-19 fatalities. Since Friday, Hon said, all staff and senior citizens living in the nursing home had undergone five nucleic acid tests as of yesterday afternoon, and all of them had tested negative for COVID-19.

The nursing home for senior citizens in Ha Van is run by the Macanese welfare organisation Mothers’ Work (known as Obra das Mães in Portuguese). Ha Van is the Cantonese name for the Praia do Manduco neighbourhood in the Inner Harbour area near Barra.

Hon also noted that “closed-loop management” measures have been implemented in the city’s 36 residential care homes since June 24, and at least 15 rounds of nucleic acid tests and rapid antigen tests have been carried out for all staff and people living there. Except the Obra das Mães nursing home for senior citizens in Ha Van district, Hon said, tests at all other residential care homes have come up with a negative COVID-19 results.

Before yesterday, Macau had not reported any COVID-19 fatalities since the novel coronavirus pandemic erupted. Macau confirmed its first COVID-19 case in January 2020. The current COVID-19 outbreak, which was caused by the Omicron subvariant BA.5.1, is the most serious one in Macau which had previously seen several waves of COVID-19 local transmissions that were all brought under control in a short period of time. The current outbreak was detected on June 18.


No huge rise in daily new cases

Ao Ieong said during the press conference that it was regrettable that Macau has reported COVID-19 fatalities for the first time since the pandemic started to affect Macau in early 2020, adding that the government is saddened by the two COVID-19 death cases. She said that the occurrence of the two COVID-19 fatalities indicates the importance of strengthened COVID-19 measures for residential care homes.

Ao Ieong also said that Macau has not seen a huge increase in daily new cases since the detection of the current COVID-19 outbreak thanks to the joint efforts by all residents and those working in the frontline fighting COVID-19. She said that with the aim of stabilising the current outbreak, the local government has decided to roll out a string of strong COVID-19 measures over this week that aim to detect all hidden cases in the community, including multiple rounds of mandatory citywide nucleic acid tests.

Ao Ieong announced that the local government will carry out three rounds of mass nucleic acid tests this week. Different from previous rounds, according to Ao Ieong, those aged three or below will be exempted from the three new round of mass testing.


650-member support team from Guangdong

Ao Ieong also announced that this time the local government is able to carry out three rounds of citywide nucleic acid tests in a week thanks to the assistance of a 650-member team from Guangdong.

According to Ao Ieong, 150 members of the team arrived in Macau late last week while the other 500 arrived here yesterday. The 650-member team will be tasked with taking swabs from testees at the city’s mass NAT stations.

With the implementation of the three rounds of mass testing, Ao Ieong called for civil society to cooperate with the government in its ongoing fight against COVID-19 with the aim of minimising the movement of people in the city. The policy secretary urged businesses to suspend or minimise their operations and everyone to stay at home unless necessary.


90 new cases in a day

According to a Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre statement yesterday morning, 90 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases were reported between 00:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, raising the outbreak tally from 694 as of Friday night to 784 as of Saturday night.

The 90-case increase was Macau’s steepest since the pandemic started to rear its ugly head here in January 2020. 

The outbreak tally was up by 66 from 572 to 638 on Thursday, and up by 56 to 694 on Friday.

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced details of the three new rounds of citywide nucleic acid testing this week in a statement last night.

Since the detection of the current outbreak, the local government has so far carried out three rounds of mandatory mass tests. The latest one that ended on Tuesday last week lasted 33 hours.


Details of mass testing

According to last night’s statement, each of the three new rounds of the mass NAT drive, namely the fourth, fifth and sixth, will also run for 33 hours, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the next day.

The fourth round will run from 9 a.m. today to 6 p.m. tomorrow, while the fifth round will run from 9 a.m. on Wednesday to 6 p.m. on Thursday, and the sixth round will run from 9 a.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The three new rounds of the mass NAT drive will be carried out at 64 stations with a total of 362 sampling counters, comprising 44 general stations – where the tests are free of charge, 13 self-paid stations and seven special care stations. The latest one that ended on Tuesday last week was carried out at 61 stations.

The 64 stations will include two mobile sampling vehicles that will be parked at a number of locations in the city during each of the three new rounds of mass tests.

The booking system (https://eservice.ssm.gov.mo/allpeoplernatestbook) will open at 7 a.m. today.

As before, residents and others must again self-test for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit at home before going to the citywide NAT stations for their tests.

According to last night’s statement, everyone tested during the fourth round will be handed five COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits for self-testing, while they will be handed 10 KN95 facemasks during the fifth round, and they will be handed five rapid antigen test kits during the sixth round.

Meanwhile, the government announced yesterday that Macau’s banks will reopen today but with reduced opening hours and not all branches open at the same time. 

Government offices will reopen today but with limited services only. 


Medical workers from the mainland arrive in Macau yesterday to assist the local government in carrying out mass nucleic acid tests (NATs). A total of 650 medical workers from the mainland have arrived in Macau to help Macau battle its current COVID-19 outbreak. – Xinhua


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


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  • visitors2022070511:562022-07-05 11:56

    先講返第三輪全民核檢,共有61個核檢站,包括41個一般站,13個自費站,及7個關愛站。而第四輪全民核檢,共有64個核檢站,包括44個一般站,13個自費站,及7個關愛站。在7月3日下午5時的新聞發佈會,政府表示第四輪全民核檢比第三輪多了3個一般站,但其實這3個新增的一般站當中,有兩個是指兩部流動核酸採樣車。然而第三輪全民核檢已增設1輛流動核酸採樣車,但此採樣車不屬於該41個一般站當中。當然,第三輪全民核檢的流動核酸採樣車是首次增設,並且無需預約;而第四輪的兩部流動核酸採樣車是必須預約的,或許是因為這樣,所以該兩部採樣車視為一般站。

  • visitors2022071000:562022-07-10 00:56

    7月3日下午5時的新聞發佈會公佈,在第四輪至第六輪的全民核檢,關愛站在每一輪都會提前3小時開放,即其開放時間由上午6時至翌日下午6時。另外,在此清晰返,全民核檢的豁免對象是未滿3歲者,即滿了3歲 (即3歲或以上) 便必須參與全民核檢。政府具體劃線的定義及方法是,2019年7月1日或之前出生的人士,必須參與全民核檢,即2019年7月1日之後出生的人士可獲豁免。

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