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Govt revises class suspension rules for flu-hit schools

The Health Bureau (SSM) Sunday announced revised criteria for particular schools to suspend classes in case pupils in the school are infected with influenza, and new arrangements for local residents to have flu jabs.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

The Health Bureau (SSM) Sunday announced revised criteria for particular schools to suspend classes in case pupils in the school are infected with influenza, and new arrangements for local residents to have flu jabs.

The bureau hosted a press conference to brief the media about the latest situation of the prevalence of seasonal influenza in the city.

The press conference was co-hosted by SSM Director Lei Chin Ion, the bureau’s two deputy directors Cheang Seng Ip and Kuok Cheong U, and SSM Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Director Lam Chong. Kuok is also the director of the public hospital.

The bureau announced last week this year’s first flu-related death, a 4-year-old girl who had died of complications caused by influenza Type A and pneumonia after treatment at the private Kiang Wu Hospital.

During the press conference, Lam said that in the wake of the increased influenza activity in the city recently, his bureau and the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) have jointly revised the guidelines for the criteria for schools to be required to suspend their classes if pupils in the school are infected with influenza.

According to Lei, the revised guidelines will make the threshold lower for a class to be suspended.

According to Lam, when a flu death case is recorded in a school or when a pupil infected with influenza in the school is treated in the intensive care unit (ICU), and also when less than 50 percent of pupils in the respective class have received a flu vaccination or when more than 30 percent of the pupils have flu-like symptoms, then the class has to be suspended for a week.

The second scenario for class suspension is that when two flu death cases are recorded within 15 days in a particular school or when two cases of flu-infected pupils being treated in the ICU are recorded within 15 days, then the whole school has to be suspended for seven days, regardless of the coverage of flu vaccinations among pupils in the school.

During the press conference, Lei also said that his bureau has decided to change the arrangement for residents to receive free-of-charge flu shots, as the number of residents receiving influenza vaccinations has drastically increased since his bureau announced the first flu-related death case on Thursday.

According to The Macau Post Daily, Lei said the number of residents receiving flu vaccinations in the city’s health centres reached up to 4,000 per day from Friday, while normally only 400 residents receive flu jabs a day.

According to Cheang, the new arrangement takes effect today.

According to Cheang, under the new arrangement, local residents have to make an appointment first – either by phone or by walking in – before they can receive their flu jabs.

According to Cheang, priority will be given to children under the age of five, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, patients who have received an organ transplant, and patients receiving kidney dialysis. They are expected to get their flu shots within three days of making the appointment.

Lei stressed that the stock of flu vaccine that the government has can meet the rising demand.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:45 am

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