COVID-19 fatalities, new cases falling

2023-01-11 03:06     BY Tony Wong    Comment:6

Macau’s number of new COVID-19 fatalities and newly confirmed cases is on the decline, official figures showed yesterday. 

Two more people died of the novel coronavirus disease on Monday, raising Macau’s official COVID-19 death toll to 91, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced yesterday.

Six people had died of the disease on Sunday, while a total of 20 fatalities was reported between last Thursday and Saturday. 

According to a statement by the centre, Monday’s two male victims, aged 75 and 86, had suffered from underlying diseases.

One of them had not been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, the statement said.

Macau’s first six COVID-19 fatalities were reported during Macau’s previous COVID-19 outbreak that began on June 18 last year and started to subside in late July, colloquially known as 618 outbreak in Cantonese. The Macau government was pursuing a dynamic zero-COVID approach when the city was hit by the 618 outbreak.

Macau’s seventh COVID-19 fatality was reported on December 13, a few days after the Macau government switched to an adjusted anti-COVID-19 approach that implicitly allows constant transmissions of the novel coronavirus in the community.

Macau logs 26 new patients on Monday

Meanwhile, yesterday’s statement also announced that 26 new patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease were admitted to the Health Bureau’s (SSM) isolation and treatment facilities on Monday.

The Health Bureau’s isolation and treatment facilities currently comprise the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, the Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane, and hotels used for isolation treatment.

According to the Health Bureau’s COVID-19 website, which was updated yesterday, Macau’s official cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 3,360, of which 3,047 had meanwhile been cured.

The Health Bureau said last week that Macau’s first peak of new daily serious cases had begun to decline at that time, following the local government’s decision to abandon its long-running dynamic zero-COVID approach early last month.

Health Bureau urges continued use of facemasks 

The Macau government ended the city’s transition period tackling COVID-19 on Sunday, which began on December 8 when it commenced its gradual easing of COVID-19 curbs.

The government has said that COVID-19 has now become an endemic disease in Macau following the termination of an anti-COVID-19 transition period.

The government has said that in the new landscape where COVID-19 is now endemic in Macau, COVID-19 carriers are no longer required to undergo isolation at home.

Nevertheless, the Health Bureau has urged everyone in Macau to continue wearing a facemask when they are in public places during the current post-transition period, according to a set of guidelines published by the bureau on Saturday, officially known as COVID-19 Prevention and Control Principles After the Transition Period. The document tells people in Macau about measures that they should follow with the aim of tackling COVID-19 as an endemic disease.

The document says that with the expected constant mutation of the novel coronavirus worldwide, Macau is expected to continue to be affected by the periodic occurrence of peaks of COVID-19 infections in the foreseeable future, like elsewhere in the world.

The document notes that healthy people who have been infected with or vaccinated against COVID-19 will normally have their antibody levels gradually decline three to six months afterwards, because of which they can be reinfected.

The implementation of the guidelines aims to minimise the impact of the new landscape where COVID-19 is endemic in Macau on people’s health and organisations’ operations.

Things to do after developing symptoms

According to the guidelines, people who have come down with symptoms such as a fever, fatigue, myalgia (muscle pain), sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose and cough can choose to self-test for COVID-19 with a rapid antigen test (RAT) kit, while those without symptoms are generally advised not to undergo a test.

According to the guidelines, those who develop symptoms on the first or second day after being infected with COVID-19 will possibly still come up with a negative RAT result, in which case they are advised to undergo a rapid antigen test daily for two or three consecutive days.

The guidelines document says that COVID-19 carriers should rest at home as much as possible, and refrain from participating in gatherings and engaging in any activities where they cannot wear a facemask such as dining out. In addition, they should avoid catching public buses or Light Rail Transit (LRT), the document says, adding that those who really need to take public buses or the LRT should properly wear a facemask during their ride.

The document also says that COVID-19 infectees with only mild symptoms can go to work.

Since Sunday, when the city’s anti-COVID-19 transition period ended, people in Macau have no longer been required to report their state of health by generating their Macau Health Code when entering any public venues in the city. The Macau Health Code ceased its red and yellow codes on Sunday, meaning that smartphone users always generate a green health code even though they report COVID-19 symptoms or contacts with COVID-19 carriers on the Macau Health Code.

The guidelines document says that staff at public venues “should no longer” require those entering the premises to present a health code.

No more temperature checks at most places

According to the guidelines, various public venues, such as government offices, businesses and other organisations, “generally do not need” to check the temperature of anyone entering their premises, except “key” venues such as care homes for senior citizens, rehabilitation care homes, day nurseries, schools, and the local prison in Coloane.

The document also says that government entities, businesses and other organisations should not require their staff or visitors without symptoms to be tested for COVID-19, unless there is a special need.

Should there be any staff members who are suspected of having been infected with COVID-19 because of having come down with symptoms, especially those tasked with serving members of the public or taking care of senior citizens, the infirm or the sick, the respective entities are advised to arrange for them to undergo a COVID-19 rapid antigen test, according to the guidelines. 

Travellers arrive in Macau from Zhuhai via the Barrier Gate checkpoint earlier this week. – Photo: MGTO

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