Two returnees test positive for antibodies

Two male Macao residents who returned to Macao from Tokyo last month have tested positive for antibodies.

positive Covid-19 antibody
Photo by Government Information Bureau

Two male Macao residents who returned to Macao from Tokyo last month have tested positive for antibodies, the government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced in a statement on Thursday.

However, the Health Bureau has decided not to classify the two men as confirmed Covid-19 patients “for the time being”, the statement said.

The two males have not come down with any symptoms.

The first man, a 30-year-old Portuguese national, tested negative for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies but positive for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. He has tested negative for Covid-19 for the third time in nucleic acid tests within the past 14 days and has not come down with any symptoms, the Health Bureau has concluded that it is likely that he had previously been infected with the novel coronavirus elsewhere before his return to Macao.

However, the statement said that for safety reasons, the 30-year-old man, who returned to Macao from Portugal, has been transferred from the quarantine facilities to the public hospital’s isolation ward for a CT scan, further observation and follow-up nucleic acid testing.

The other man, a 43-year-old local Chinese who returned to Macao from Switzerland tested positive for IgM antibodies and negative for IgG antibodies and had not come down with any symptoms.

The Health Bureau has also transferred the 43-year-old man, who works as a chef, from the quarantine hotel to the public hospital’s isolation ward for a CT scan, further observation and follow-up nucleic acid testing.

The statement noted that the Macao residents had stayed in countries where Covid-19 has highly contagious strains and that cases have been reported in many countries according to which people are only confirmed as Covid-19 cases after undergoing several nucleic acid tests.

The centre, therefore, decided to carry out two blood tests on each of the passengers who are currently undergoing their 21-day quarantine, in addition to the four required nucleic acid tests, so as to “further reduce the public health risk they would pose to their families and the community after completing their quarantine”.

The government carried out the first test on the passengers on Wednesday, while the second test will be carried out on Wednesday next week. The statement said that the blood tests “aim to confirm that they [the passengers] have not been infected with the novel coronavirus”.

According to the Macau Post Daily, a total of 109 Macao residents who departed from 14 countries returned to Macao onboard two Air Macao flights from Tokyo on 21 January, one of whom was confirmed as Macao’s 47th Covid-19 patient the next day.