2 days of self-tests for all, after NRW tests positive for COVID-19 in Zhuhai

2022-08-08 03:49     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

The Macau government announced yesterday that everyone in Macau must self-test for COVID-19 for two consecutive days, after a man working in Macau has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Zhuhai.

The two-day rapid antigen test (RAT) drive ends today. 

The man works in the bakery of the Grand Mart supermarket, which is located near the Macau Jockey Club, because of which all those who live or work in central Taipa were required to undergo a nucleic acid test (NAT) between 3:30 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. yesterday. All results of the testing campaign will be available this morning.

The man, a non-resident worker (NRW) from the mainland, is a daily commuter between Macau and Zhuhai. Due to Zhuhai’s then quarantine requirements for arrivals from Macau, he had lived in Block 1 of the Polytec Garden residential estate in Areia Preta district until Wednesday last week. After Zhuhai lifted its then quarantine for arrivals from Macau, which took effect at 6 p.m. on Wednesday last week, he resumed his daily commute between the two cities on Thursday last week, and had been living in his home in Zhuhai since then.

Consequently, Block 1 of Polytec Garden was sealed off at around midday yesterday, i.e., after having been listed as a Red Code Zone. The building’s residents are prohibited from leaving their homes, and are required to undergo regular nucleic acid tests (NATs) during the lockdown period, which is provisionally slated to end on Saturday. The Grand Mart supermarket was also sealed off at around midday yesterday.

NRW bought cosmetics near Barrier Gate checkpoint

Moreover, the government announced last night that those who live or work near the Barrier Gate border checkpoint are required to undergo a nucleic acid test today, as the NRW commuted between Macau and Zhuhai via the Barrier Gate checkpoint on Friday and Saturday. In addition, he also bought cosmetics from a shop in the area on the two days.

Tens of thousands of Macau’s non-resident workers live in the adjacent city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province.

During yesterday evening’s COVID-19 press conference, Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long underlined that the two-day self-testing campaign aims to enable the government to screen potential COVID-19 carriers in the community, despite the fact that the man had constantly tested negative for COVID-19 in nucleic acid tests in Macau until Thursday last week.

The 26-year-old NRW's case was first revealed in a Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination statement yesterday afternoon. According to the statement, Zhuhai’s health authorities informed their Macau counterparts about the case yesterday morning.

The statement said that even though the NRW had tested negative for COVID-19 in more than 10 nucleic acid tests in Macau before Thursday last week, the transmission risk where he lived and works could not be ruled out.

Lo reminded the public during the press conference that those who have self-tested for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit must upload their results to the Health Bureau’s RAT online declaration system.

Those failing to report a negative RAT result on the system will have their Macau Health Code turn yellow from 00:00 a.m. the next day. They will only have their health code return to green after reporting the result of the respective test on the system.

Lo also underlined that the Health Bureau’s two-day self-testing campaign as well as its nucleic acid testing campaigns to enable the local government to assess the level of COVID-19 risk in Macau resulting from the man’s case.

Lo also said that the final duration of the ongoing lockdown of Block 1 of Ploytec Garden would depend on the results of its residents’ nucleic acid tests.

Yesterday’s nucleic acid testing campaign covered an area – where the Grand Mart supermarket is located – surrounded by Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, Estrada Almirante Marques Esparteiro, Rua de Viseu, Estrada Governador Albano de Oliveira, Avenida do Estádio, Rua do Desporto, Rua do Regedor, Rua da Ponte Negra and Avenida Olímpica.

Today’s nucleic acid testing campaign for those who live or work near the Barrier Gate checkpoint covers an area surrounded by Praça das Portas do Cerco, Rua da Paz, Rua Dois do Bairro Iao Hon, Rua Quatro do Bairro Iao Hon, Istmo de Ferreira do Amaral, Travessa de Artur Tamagnini Barbosa, Rua de Lei Pou Ch’ôn, Travessa Um da Cidade Nova de T’oi Sán, Rua Dois da Cidade Nova de T’oi Sán, Rua do Canal das Hortas and Rua dos Currais. Last night’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination statement said that today’s NAT campaign for an area in the vicinity of the Barrier Gate checkpoint is to enable the government to assess the risk of COVID-19 transmissions in the community.

Return to normalised period as scheduled

Lo also said yesterday that despite the man’s case, for the time being the Health Bureau had decided to arrange for Macau to return to its normalised COVID-19 prevention and control period today as scheduled after the city went through a six-day stabilisation period, which was scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. yesterday. Lo said that there was not sufficient evidence to justify the need to extend the stabilisation period.

Macau had been hard hit by its worst COVID-19 outbreak since June 18, before the outbreak was subsiding during a then 10-day consolidation period from July 23 through Monday last week. Afterwards, the Health Bureau launched the six-day stabilisation period that gradually relaxed various COVID-19 measures and aimed to enable the city to gradually return to the normality.

From today, individuals who leave home for work are no longer required to undergo regular nucleic acid tests, which came after they were required to undergo a test every three days during the then six-day COVID-19-prevention stabilisation period.

In line with the continuation of the Macau government’s nucleic acid testing drive, a few dozen indoor and outdoor NAT sampling stations offering free tests across the city are continuing to operate.

Lo said yesterday that a COVID-19 normalised prevention and control period does not indicate that everything is already all right on the pandemic front, and instead everyone should remain highly vigilant against potential COVID-19 risks.

Meanwhile, Zhuhai’s health authorities announced in a statement last night that from tomorrow travellers in general will only be allowed to commute (enter and exit) between Macau and Zhuhai once per day, except those in certain special groups. The special measure is provisionally slated to be implemented through September 8. The statement said that the measure has been decided in line with Zhuhai’s latest COVID-19 developments.

The special groups include cross-border students, drivers and mortuary workers. 

Police officers and health workers seal off Block 1 of Polytec Garden in Areia Preta district yesterday. Photo: Maria Cheang Ut Meng

Travellers have their samples taken for COVID-19 nucleic acid tests at the Qingmao checkpoint yesterday. From 6 p.m. yesterday, all those entering Zhuhai from Macau must immediately undergo a paid nucleic acid test at the checkpoints. – Photo: MPDG

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