Ten new testing stations at casino-hotel resorts will open today for specific “high frequency” groups targeted by the government.
The groups are made up of around 22,000 non-resident workers from Nepal and Vietnam, and local and non-local renovation and laundry workers and security guards, who must all take a series of nucleic acid tests (NAT).
Macao’s most recent Covid-19 clusters include a number of Nepalese security guards and Vietnamese renovation workers.
Tai Wa Hou, a clinical director of the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, said the new testing stations should relieve the long queues outside the city’s regular stations resulting from the new testing programme, which the government expects to complete by Sunday. Tai also said that the new testing stations enable participants to queue more comfortably indoors.
The new stations are located at Grand Lisboa, Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace, Broadway, StarWorld, MGM Macau, MGM Cotai and Studio City.
Tai pointed out that there are only a few hundred places available each day at the 10 new testing stations, which he admitted would only be able to “partially” relieve the long queues outside the regular NAT stations.
Tai also noted that up to 35,000 places are available per day at the five regular NAT stations in the city which are participating in the “high-frequency” testing programme.
The five regular NAT stations are located at the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On, the Macao Forum complex in Zape, the private Kiang Wu Hospital, the University Hospital run by the private Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), and the Workers Stadium next to the Barrier Gate border checkpoint.
In response to the rising need resulting from the programme, the opening hours of the Pac On testing station, the Macao Forum testing station and the Workers Stadium testing station were extended to between 10 am and 10 pm from Sunday, when the testing drive started.
From yesterday, the opening hours of the Macao Forum testing station and the Workers Stadium testing station were further extended to between 10 am and midnight. The Kiang Wu testing station and the University Hospital testing station are open from 10 am to 6 pm during the ongoing programme.
Tai said that anyone who fails to undergo two required tests consecutively will have their Macao Health Code colour turn yellow.
Tai urged residents not to discriminate against those in the five groups covered by the “high-frequency” testing programme, as they have merely been classified by the SSM as “important” groups of people who are potentially subject to a higher Covid-19 risk, as well as those in various occupations such as medical workers, those working in the frozen food sector, customs officers and others working at the city’s border checkpoints since the Covid-19 pandemic. Tai noted that the “important” groups of people in the various occupations have always been subject to regular Covid-19 tests since the pandemic started.
The mandatory “high-frequency” NAT drive for the five target groups, which was announced on Saturday, started on Sunday. Members of the five target groups and their respective employers have been notified by SMS. Those in the five target groups are required to be tested every other day for a total of four times. The SSM has said that it aims to complete the “high-frequency” testing drive for the five groups this coming Sunday. The tests are free of charge.
The first two patients of the six-member Covid-19 cluster of quarantine hotel security staff were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease on 25 September, while the first three patients of the six-member novel coronavirus cluster of renovation workers were diagnosed with the disease on Monday last week.
The security staff cluster involving two medical observation quarantine hotels comprise five Nepalese security guards and a mainlander working in a security control room, who were confirmed as Macao’s 65th, 66th, 68th, 69th, 70th and 71st Covid-19 cases, reported The Macau Post Daily.