Govt vows ‘precise’ COVID-19 work & ‘minimised’ impact on residents’ lives

2022-12-05 04:09     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

Macau has reported 20 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend involving the community, from Friday to yesterday, some of which were related to the current cluster that started with a 74-year-old taxi driver on Monday last week, while some of them were visitors from the mainland who were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Macau after arriving here.

Meanwhile, the Macau Health Bureau (SSM) underlined on Saturday that the Macau government is now carrying out its COVID-19 prevention and control measures in a more “precise and effective” way that can prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community while “minimising” the impact of COVID-19 measures on residents’ normal daily lives.

The Health Bureau also underlined that it is now gradually adjusting its COVID-19 measures in response to new cases detected in the community in compliance with the central government’s latest guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and control measures, which were announced last month.

Nevertheless, the Macau Health Bureau reaffirmed that for the time being the local government will continue to stick to its dynamic zero-COVID policy, meaning that Macau will generally follow the central government’s latest COVID-19 prevention and control guidelines but with certain adjustments to the guidelines to be implemented in Macau in a way that is suitable for Macau own situation.

Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo Iek Long made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Saturday at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf in Nape.

Lo acknowledged that as various regions in the mainland are currently being hit by a COVID-19 outbreak, the Macau government is currently facing “big pressure” in its work on preventing cases being imported from the mainland.

In the wake of the new COVID-19 landscape Macau is facing, according to Lo, the local government will continue to carry out its COVID-19 prevention and control work in compliance with “scientific, precise and effective” principles, with the aim of bringing Macau’s COVID-19 situation under control while minimising the impact of its COVID-19 work on residents’ normal daily lives.

3 major changes

According to Lo, Macau’s latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures involve three major types of changes compared to previous ones.

The first change, according to Lo, is that the government generally does not require the cancellation of large-scale events as long as organisers can ensure that the events are carried out in line with COVID-19 measures, despite the detection of new COVID-19 cases in the community.

The second change, Lo said, is that the government is now listing Red Code Zones more accurately, and no longer classifies any buildings as Yellow Code Zones near Red Code Zones buildings.

The third major change is that the local government now generally refrains from launching a citywide nucleic acid test (NAT) drive in case of the detection of new cases in the community. Instead, Lo said, the government will normally launch NAT campaigns for high-risk key areas, high-risk key groups of people, or those who have visited the same places as COVID-19 carriers at the same time.

In addition, Lo pointed out that despite the fact that both Macau and Zhuhai have now been constantly detecting new COVID-19 cases involving the community, the quarantine-free travel arrangements between the two cities remain intact, thanks to the ongoing close communication mechanism between Macau and Zhuhai and Guangdong, according to Lo, health authorities in Macau and Zhuhai are able to quickly inform the other side of their new cases that might have affected the other side.

New measures for Red Code Zones

Meanwhile, Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced in a statement yesterday that the government has adjusted its measures implemented for buildings listed as Red Code Zones.

According to the statement, a building will now only be listed as a Red Code Zone if at least two households there have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to the new measures, the statement said, a building will now be listed as a Yellow Code Zone if only one household there has been diagnosed with the disease, in which case other residents living there are now only required to undergo four nucleic acid tests within five days, without having their building locked down.

Meanwhile, the 20 new COVID-19 cases detected over the weekend were announced in a raft of statements from Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.

According to the statements, eight out of the 20 new cases were related to the cabbie’s cluster.

The other cases included tourists and other arrivals from the mainland, as well as those who had visited the same places at the same times as those who had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The cases included a three-year-old kindergartener, and a female runner from the mainland who took part in yesterday’s half-marathon. 

As of yesterday, according to official data, Macau’s COVID-19 tally stood at 813 confirmed and 1,966 asymptomatic cases, of which 791 and 1,897 respectively had meanwhile been cured. The COVID-19 death toll remained at six.

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long talks to reporters at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf in Nape on Saturday. – Photo courtesy of TDM

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