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Top official warns Omicron variant is highly dangerous

Officials mulling fourth citywide NAT as cases reach 638; residents warned once again to stay home, avoid gathering, wear a mask outdoors.

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Officials mulling fourth citywide NAT as cases reach 638; residents warned once again to stay home, avoid gathering, wear a mask outdoors.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Macao ended the working week with 638 positive Covid-19 cases – and a grim warning issued by the Head of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.

“This variant of Omicron is not like flu,” said Leong Iek Hou. “It is much more dangerous because it spreads more swiftly and attacks the respiratory system which can cause pneumonia. The incubation period is only a couple of days, and most patients have a very high fever.”

Leong said managing and controlling patients’ close contacts is one of health workers’ top priorities.

“Rapid antigen tests (RAT) are important because they can quickly detect positive cases and allow infected persons to take nucleic acid tests (NAT) for confirmation,” she added.

“We plan to take more rigorous measures in future but are confident that we can  control the present situation in Macao.” 

Across the city, the Covid-19 numbers continued to stack up today. At midnight on Thursday, there were 638 confirmed cases, including 66 new ones, 31 of which were found in the community, while 35 were under management. Of these, 240 were symptomatic and 398 were asymptomatic.

At 3 pm today, health workers were following up more than 10,000 potential cases. 

Some 2,631 patients are in quarantine, most of whom are local residents. Nearly 4,500 people are locked down in Red Code zones, while 21,215 are on high alert in Yellow Code zones.

Two more positive cases – a resident and a staff member – were discovered at the Obra das Mães Integrated Services Centre for Elderly at Praia do Manduco, which was the source of Macao’s oldest novel coronavirus patient, a 100-year-old man, who is currently being treated in hospital.

Leong added: “We are analysing the present situation in order to evaluate the need of another general NAT test for the entire population. Mainland China specialists are also evaluating the situation after the recent RATs and NATs.

“We are taking all the appropriate measures to control the spread of the virus but everyone needs to continue to stay at home, avoid gathering and wear a mask in public.

“More workers from other government departments are working with the health services in areas such as administration and testing.

“Our main objective is to reach zero cases in the community and reduce the risk of the Omicron variant.”

Leong added that the Health Bureau has 4,000 staff who are able to handle the current outbreak, although they continue to receive help from medical experts in mainland China, and some staff have already come to Macao to assist.

 

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