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Domestic helpers living outside employer’s home must do daily NATs starting tomorrow

Out of 1,675 confirmed cases, only 5.7% have been domestic helpers; rigorous new anti-virus measures for next week to be announced tomorrow.

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Out of 1,675 confirmed cases, only 5.7% have been domestic helpers; rigorous new anti-virus measures for next week to be announced tomorrow.

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PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:42 am

Starting tomorrow, domestic helpers who do not live at their employer’s home will need to undertake daily rapid antigen tests and nucleic acid tests.

Leong Iek Hou, Head of the Health Bureau’s Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division, said that so far 95 domestic helpers had been infected with Covid-19.

“It’s very dangerous for families to employ domestic helpers who don’t live with them,” said Leong, adding that Macao’s future anti-virus strategy, which will swing into action once the 10th round of mass-testing ends on Sunday, will be announced tomorrow.

“Employers will be responsible for making sure their domestic helpers take the necessary tests, and should check the results on the government website to ensure they have not tested positive.”

If domestic helpers live out, they will be classified among the key groups of workers; tests are to be conducted daily until further notice. According to the Statistics and Census Service, by the end of 2021 there were 26,000 non-resident domestic helpers living in Macao.

Leong added that Macao’s anti-Covid-19 measures are different from those put in force in mainland China’s because of the social situation. 

“What we want is to reach zero cases in Macao and to reduce and minimise the damage to the population and on citizens’ daily life.

“We intend to announce more rigorous measures to be sure that we can guarantee the safety of all residents.”  

As Macao came to the end of its most unusual working week ever, the Covid-19 figures were more or less steady. Health officials reported 1,675 confirmed cases, although 31 patients were discharged from hospital today, bringing the total number of discharged patients to 282. Eight positive pooled samples were discovered in the ninth mass-testing round, and just under 3,000 people are confined to hotels under medical observation.

A surprising number of residents have continued to wander the streets in defiance of the government’s anti-virus regulations. 

Unitary Police Services public relations officer Cheong Kin Iam said 429 people had been warned for various transgressions between midnight and 3 pm today, although nobody was arrested. Altogether four people have been prosecuted this week for failing to wear a mask and smoking on the streets, and were fined between MOP 3,600 and MOP 12,000. A fifth, a 51-year-old surnamed Lao, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Following news that a dog choked to death in a locked-down building before a vet could make an emergency visit, Lei Wai Seng, Clinical Director of the Conde São Januário Hospital Centre, said that private vets are allowed to enter Red Code zone buildings if there is an urgent situation and they are wearing protective clothing.

The Municipal Affairs Bureau has provided support to 156 pets and six of them have received medical treatment from its vets during the current outbreak. The bureau’s dog shelter is open in the mornings to help pets in need.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:42 am

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