Health officials will re-evaluate the novel coronavirus situation in Macao on Sunday, to decide on which key groups need to be retested.
The decision follows a storm of criticism after Philippine passport holders were singled out for additional nucleic acid testing (NAT).
Leong Iek Hou, Head of the Health Bureau’s Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division, said: “We do not discriminate against any nationalities but our evaluation of the situation showed that 9.5 per cent of the positive cases that occurred since 18 June were Filipino, and during the last two weeks of partial lockdown 24.5 per cent of infections within the community were Filipino. The proportion of Filipino citizens infected compared with the number of the Macao population is very high.
“It’s difficult to decide who will be tested. We think this is the best way to find sources of the virus transmission and define who needs to be tested.
“On Sunday we will re-evaluate the different risk groups, including Filipino nationals, and will decide which ones no longer present a risk to the community and which ones need to continue to be tested.
“We found zero confirmed cases in the community yesterday, but that doesn’t mean there is no longer any risk in the community. We have to see the results of the mass testings, and NATs for key groups and areas, to see if the transmission chain in the community is really eliminated.
“We are very busy now and we have no time as yet to discuss how long the quarantine should last. As soon as we have time, we will study the problem and make a decision. At the moment, those that arrive from high risk places are required to do 10+7, that is, 10 days in a hotel and seven of self-management.”
Leong added that Filipino nationals who now hold Macao passports or any other nationality documents should approach authorities to regularise their situation regarding identity and travel documents.
On the eve of Macao transitioning to the long-awaited “consolidation period”, bridging partial lockdown with a return to business as usual, health officials registered 1,800 confirmed cases. Seventy-seven patients were released today, bringing the total to 710 since the Omicron variant outbreak on 18 June. Some 2,685 are under medical observation in hotels, and 22,597 cases are being followed up.
Police issued warnings to 605 people in breach of the current anti-virus regulations. A 58-year-old, surnamed Hoi, who drove to Hac Sa Beach on 20 July, was fined MOP 3,000 and given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for one year.