Residents are once again being urged to get vaccinated against Covid-19 amid warnings that a new virus surge could hit Macao soon.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U said the government cannot ensure that the city will not be hit by new local Covid-19 cases, due to the worsening virus situation in neighbouring regions.
She stressed that a number of cities in Guangdong have recently been reporting more new locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases.
The policy secretary added that the government is planning to provide walk-in Covid-19 vaccinations at its health centres to make it more convenient for residents to get their jabs. Currently, walk-in Covid-19 vaccinations are only available at the new inoculation facility in the Macao Forum complex in Zape.
Ao Ieong noted that the Covid-19 situation in Europe and the United States, where vaccination rates are relatively high, has been easing. However, she said that Macao is facing a renewed Covid-19 risk from the recent deterioration in the situation in the region, such as Taiwan which has been hit by a severe outbreak. In particular, she said, a large number of people are travelling between Macao and Guangdong every day, but new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases have recently been reported in Guangzhou, Foshan and Shenzhen.
Ao Ieong pointed out that Macao’s latest Covid-19 patient has been diagnosed with carrying the Indian mutant strain – which is more contagious than the original novel coronavirus.
Macao’s 51st Covid-19 case was confirmed on Monday last week, a 39-year-old local man who returned to Macao on 19 May from Nepal via Turkey, Paris and Taipei. The man, who has not been named, has been classified as an imported Covid-19 case. It was the first time the Indian variant has been detected in Macao.
Ao Ieong also noted that over the past few weeks Macao has reported a number of imported Covid-19 cases where the patients later tested positive for the novel coronavirus again when they were in quarantine in Macao after having previously been infected with Covid-19 and recovered elsewhere.
Ao Ieong underlined that it was difficult for the Macao government to be able to ensure that the city will not be hit by new local Covid-19 cases, because of which it was necessary for the city to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible. She also urged residents to continue to strictly comply with the government’s Covid-19 prevention measures.
Ao Ieong said that over the past week many more people had made an appointment to be inoculated against Covid-19 than previously, pointing out that just on one day last week 8,600 people booked a jab.
Ao Ieong revealed that the government is planning to provide walk-in Covid-19 vaccinations at its health centres and health stations so that potential vaccinees will no longer need to make an appointment in advance for a Covid-19 jab.
In response to the latest Covid-19 epidemic situation in Guangdong, Ao Ieong urged residents to choose different checkpoints to cross the Macao-Zhuhai border so as to reduce the gathering of crowds.