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Partial Lockdown II: Macao faces another week of mass NATs and zero GGR

Officials push for determined effort to thwart Covid-19 outbreak; seven key groups must do daily NAT.

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Officials push for determined effort to thwart Covid-19 outbreak; seven key groups must do daily NAT.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:42 am

Macao is facing another week of partial lockdown, three more rounds of nucleic acid tests (NAT) and the grim prospect of zero gross gaming revenue (GGR) from shuttered casinos, further adding to the city’s economic woes.

Although 37 patients were released from the hospital today – making a total of 319 released since the June outbreak, the city’s confirmed cases had reached 1,706. 

Starting on Monday, 69 testing stations, including seven mobile buses, will once again be conducting tests – the city’s 11th to 13th rounds – in a determined attempt to pin down the Covid-19 Omicron variant which has blighted life in the city since 18 June.

11-13th round mass NATs
Caring stations open at 6 am for children aged 6 or below, people over 70 years old, pregnant women and those with disabilities

Seven key groups will need to do NATs daily: security, cleaning, property management, catering, public bus and taxi drivers, takeaway deliverers and couriers, and live-out domestic workers.

Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong Weng-chon, said: “The government well understands the difficulties that the population is suffering. But we have to be aware of the consequences that we might face if we relax the anti-virus measures.

“The virus does not allow us to relax the measures taken because it has a very rapid transmission. If we relax we could face unpredictable consequences that we do not want”.

Cheong said that the aim was to reduce the chains of transmission so as to reach Covid zero and allow the community to return to normal life.

“We are consolidating our measures. It will be up to the Health Services to decide what premises may open or close if measures are relaxed while we are consolidating.”

Cheong expressed little sympathy for dog owners who have clamoured to be allowed to exercise their pets if only for brief periods each day for reasons of hygiene. He commented that old people and children were also confined to their homes during the partial lockdown. 

“Pet owners need to be ready to suffer a little,” he concluded.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong said that the system of NATs and rapid antigen tests would be continued next week as their effect had been highly effective, cutting cases to single digits.

“The present measures will have an impact on the population, the economy and on movements to mainland China but they are needed in order to return to normal life in the community,” she said.

“It’s a crucial time to fight the virus in the community and to reach zero cases. As a responsible government, we need to continue with these measures.

“During the consolidation period we will open in phases, while trying to reduce the number of cases, find the reason for the transmission and cut the transmission chain. 

Unitary Police Services public relations officer Cheong Kin Iam provided the daily Covid-19 briefing with a dramatic ending by announcing a 52-year-old male surnamed Kou has been fined MOP 4,800 for being caught smoking and not wearing a mask. If the fine is not paid in due time, he will be sent to jail for 40 days. Cheong Kin Iam also said that 509 people were warned today between midnight and 3 pm.

He added that a man and woman found playing tennis at the Tennis Academy worked as security guards there, and are facing prosecution.

Following up on inconsistencies in mass-testing results, two anti-illegal immigrants (II) operations involving hundreds of police officers and Health Bureau staff were conducted in Bairro Das Missões in Coloane and Povoação de Cheok Ka in Taipa, netting two IIs.

Cheong Kin Iam urged members of the public to report any illegal activity to the police.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:42 am

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