Macao’s health authorities are on full alert after detecting the first case of the highly contagious Covid-19 Indian variant.
Urging residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre (NCRCC) announced that Macao’s 51st case, which had been classified as imported, has been diagnosed with carrying the B.1.617 variant.
The patient is a 39-year-old man who returned to Macao on Wednesday last week from Nepal via a lengthy journey that took him to Istanbul, Paris and Taipei.
The NCRCC noted that the B.1.617 variant was first detected in India in December last year and has since caused a devastating Covid-19 outbreak across the country. As the Indian variant has been detected in more countries, the World Health Organization has classified it as a “variant of global concern”, The Macau Post Daily reported.
While research studies have indicated that the B.1.617 variant is more contagious than the original Covid-19, vaccines remain effective against it.
The NCRCC said that the man was still infected with the novel coronavirus despite having been fully inoculated against Covid-19, possibly because he had still not developed sufficient immunity when he contracted the virus. As the man has only been confirmed as an asymptomatic Covid-19 patient the vaccine is still able to provide a certain degree of protection.
The NCRCC underlined that Covid-19 vaccines can effectively prevent the novel coronavirus disease. Although they cannot completely protect people from Covid-19 infection, the vaccines can significantly reduce the risk of suffering a serious condition or dying from the disease.
The NCRCC said that the Covid-19 pandemic is now very serious globally, adding that new local cases have been reported in a number of cities in the mainland, while several jurisdictions which had previously recorded good results in bringing the pandemic under control have now “suddenly” been hit by an outbreak.
While the Indian variant has been detected in Macao for the first time, the city’s vaccination rate is still low, the NCRCC said, adding that the consequences would be very serious in case a Covid-19 outbreak occurred in Macao. Consequently, residents should get their Covid-19 jabs as soon as possible.
Those who have had both Covid-19 jabs will only develop enough immunity at least 14 days after the second inoculation. Consequently, residents should get their jabs immediately before a possible Covid-19 epidemic hits Macao.
The NCRCC warned that residents who have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 should still avoid travelling to high-risk areas. If they really need to travel, they should start their trip at least 14 days after having had the two Covid-19 jabs – which ensures that they will develop enough immunity – so as to reduce the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus.