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Macao suffers 31 new Covid-19 cases, mass testing under way till noon tomorrow

No positive NAT results from mass testing so far; much of city including government departments and banks closed down, with residents advised to stay at home.

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No positive NAT results from mass testing so far; much of city including government departments and banks closed down, with residents advised to stay at home.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:45 am

Macao is bracing itself to cope with the most serious outbreak of Covid-19 since the novel coronavirus pandemic erupted in January 2020 after 31 new locally transmitted cases were discovered at the weekend.

The entire population is being tested between Sunday and noon tomorrow (click here to schedule NAT), and much of the city has closed down, with government offices and all banks shut, and restaurants only permitted to provide takeaway meals.

The sources of infections were still not identified by the government late last night.

The authorities said that more new cases were expected to be reported and that the overall situation could worsen.

As of 10 pm yesterday, according to the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, health officials had administered nucleic acid tests (NAT) to 211,779 people, 66,797 of which had come up with a result, all negative.

The new cases were detected after one of them tested positive for Covid-19 at Kiang Wu Hospital on Saturday night after she sought treatment for respiratory symptoms, and another, a prison staff member, tested positive in a test conducted under the government’s regular NAT programme for workers in “key” occupations that are potentially subject to a higher Covid-19 risk.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng announced that the government had officially suspended all public administration services today and tomorrow, except urgent and indispensable ones. 

Activities centres, day care centres, day nurseries, exhibition halls, museums, parks, public libraries and sports facilities have all been closed.

All banks and insurance companies outlets will be closed today and tomorrow. ATMs and online banking will operate as normal, but certain services such as deposits and loans will be postponed.

The Macao Government Tourism Office’s local tour programme and sports competitions and events have also been suspended, as have driving tests and examinations for public administration jobs.

Visits to prisons, rehabilitation centres and retirement homes have also been halted,  while the government has also urged people not to go to beaches. 

In-class teaching at all schools and higher education institutions has been suspended until further notice.

In a move that underlines the severity of the outbreak, the government has urged restaurants and eateries to refrain from dine-in services and sell only takeaways.

Likewise, shops and businesses have been advised to close except for those essential for maintaining residents’ daily lives. Residents have been told to stay at home except for visiting facilities essential for their daily lives such as supermarkets and wet markets.

The government first announced early on Sunday that one Covid-19 positive case had been detected on Saturday night, after which Ho announced that Macao has entered the State of Immediate Prevention.

The first 12 of the 31 cases were announced by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U yesterday morning.

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long later announced that the number of new locally transmitted Covid-19 positive cases had risen to 21.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:45 am

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