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Health chief outlines 3-point plan as Covid-19 cases rocket to 533

Police, fire and health workers also hit by virus; Alvis Lo commends RATs, urges residents to stay at home as Omicron variant runs wild; 2,000 beds at Sheraton made available for asymptomatic patients.

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Police, fire and health workers also hit by virus; Alvis Lo commends RATs, urges residents to stay at home as Omicron variant runs wild; 2,000 beds at Sheraton made available for asymptomatic patients.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:44 am

After Macao’s Covid-19 cases hit 533 today, spurred on by the highly contagious BA.5.1 Omicron variant, Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long has outlined a three-point plan to overcome the fast-spreading outbreak which first struck the city on 18 June.

Lo said the cases in the community needed to be traced as swiftly as possible by employing nucleic acid tests (NAT) and rapid antigen tests (RAT); close contacts should be followed up as a matter of priority; and residents needed to stay at home as much as possible.

Lo stressed that self-administered RATs – some 630,000 all told – had pinned down 159 cases in the community, which had been a significant help to health workers. 

He added that it was important to increase vaccination among the elderly, and that the Omicron variant was still active in the community. “We have a contingency plan to deal with the situation, and 15 teams are working on it,” he said.

Following Macao’s third mass-testing drive in the space of a week, the SSM reported that 652,544 people had been tested and 44 pooled samples had proved positive. Sixteen zones are currently locked down (Red Code zone) in the city, and 59 have been designated Yellow Code zones.

Two mobile NAT buses have been assigned to service Yellow Code zones.

Nearly 10,000 cases are being followed up, and the virus is still affecting more females than males, while no age group has been spared, with patients ranging from eight months to 94 years old. Six Health Bureau staff have succumbed, as have three members of the Fire Services and five from the police – all close contacts have been quarantined.

The Macao Government Tourist Office reported that 2,766 patients are currently under medical observation, with 2,309 quartered in general hotels and the remainder in specialised hotels. Most (1,612) are locals, however 279 are non-resident workers and 875 are tourists. 

At the Sheraton Grand Macao (Earth Tower) in Cotai, 2,000 rooms have been assigned to asymptomatic patients and those with less serious symptoms. Plans are in hand to offer Traditional Chinese Medicine consultations by phone or video, with Lianhua Qingwen capsules or Huo Xiang Zheng Qi capsules on offer should patients want to take them.

 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:44 am

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