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Government tightens rules for unjabbed arrivals as second Fai Chi Kei resident tests positive

NAT result validity halved to 24 hours for unvaccinated local residents and NRWs; new Covid-19 patient is son of first case, frequent cross-border traveller.

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NAT result validity halved to 24 hours for unvaccinated local residents and NRWs; new Covid-19 patient is son of first case, frequent cross-border traveller.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:46 am

Macao is planning to cut the validity of the negative Covid-19 nucleic acid test (NAT) result for unvaccinated local residents and non-resident workers (NRW) entering from Guangdong to just 24 hours from the current 48.

The new regulation will apply to Shenzhen ferry passengers as well as arrivals from Zhuhai.

In related news, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced that a second person from Fai Chi Kei, the 31-year-old son of the original case, has tested positive for Covid-19.

Leong Iek Hou, who heads the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division of the Health Bureau (SSM) noted that the man and his 66-year-old mother had not been vaccinated against Covid-19. Leong added that the SSM’s investigation indicated that both had “frequently” travelled between Macao and Zhuhai.

Leong said that unvaccinated people who often travel between Macao and Zhuhai are posing a Covid-19 risk to both cities. Consequently, Leong said Macao is planning to roll out a new measure for certain groups of people entering Macao from Guangdong.

Local residents, non-resident workers and other non-local people who hold a permit to stay in Macao for a long period of time, will have their NAT validity shortened to just 24 hours if they have not been inoculated against Covid-19.

Two groups will be exempted from the new measure, namely under-fives and those who hold a doctor’s certificate confirming their unsuitability for Covid-19 vaccinations, meaning that their NAT validity will remain valid for 48 hours when entering Macao from Guangdong after the start of the new measure, despite having not been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Asked whether the new measure would violate the government’s principle that Covid-19 vaccinations are voluntary, Leong said that neither the 66-year-old woman nor her son have been inoculated against the novel coronavirus even though the government commenced its Covid-19 vaccination programme a “long” time ago, while both had often travelled between Macao and Zhuhai. 

Leong underlined that the new measure is warranted because unvaccinated individuals frequently travelling between the two cities are posing a Covid-19 risk to the community in both cities.

Leong underlined that the new measure will not make it mandatory for everyone to be vaccinated against Covid-19 because it is their choice not to get inoculated but to be subject to a shorter NAT validity when entering Macao from Guangdong.

Leong reaffirmed that in case someone gets infected with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19 vaccinations can significantly reduce the burden on the city’s health system.

Leong said that details of the new measure will be announced in due course. She also urged those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 elsewhere to visit one of the city’s NAT sampling stations to register their vaccination records with the Macao Health Bureau’s system. Only after they have completed the registrations, will their Covid-19 vaccination records be displayed on their Macao Health Code.

As of last night, no Covid-19 positive results had been reported from the ongoing three-day NAT campaign, which is due to end tonight, and from those living in the Red Code Zone.

The woman’s son, who was transferred to quarantine on Wednesday morning, “weakly” tested positive for the novel coronavirus yesterday.

He tested negative for Covid-19 on Wednesday before coming up with a “weak” positive result yesterday, indicating that he had been infected with the novel coronavirus for just a short period of time. The man’s case was detected when he was already in quarantine, and he had not come down with any Covid-19 symptoms as of last night.

The man, who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, usually attends a vocational training programme organised by the Labour Affairs Bureau.

The SSM has concluded that the man’s infection has only resulted in a low risk of the occurrence of Covid-19 community transmission, The Macau Post Daily reported. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:46 am

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