The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that the online appointment system for the local government’s NAT scheme had become fully booked “in a short time” on Tuesday morning due to today’s lifting of Guangdong’s quarantine requirement.
The NAT programme’s main testing station at the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On opens daily between 10 am and 7 pm the Health Bureau (SSM) could initially test up to 6,000 people per day in its NAT scheme, which is carried out in collaboration with a third-party testing institution – Kuok Kim (Macau) Hygiene Examination Company Limited, before its testing capability was raised late last month to 16,000 people per day.
Tuesday afternoon’s statement pointed out that Macao currently can test up to 16,000 people per day in its NAT scheme, while in reality 4,000 to 6,000 people have been tested per day in recent days.
The local government has warned that large crowds of travellers have recently occurred at Macao border checkpoints to Zhuhai because many of them only converted their Macao Health Code into a Guangdong Health Code when crossing the border.
Tuesday afternoon’s statement said that residents still would need time to familiarise themselves with converting their Macao Health Code into a Guangdong Health Code, adding that therefore the Health Bureau has decided to maintain the current quota of 5,000 people per day for the NAT scheme’s online appointment system, with the aim of preventing large crowds at the Zhuhai-Macao border checkpoints. The statement pledged that the Health Bureau will increase the number of daily appointment places in a timely manner after residents have become familiar with the conversion of the two health codes.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, said that the local authorities are discussing with their mainland counterparts the possible simplification of the conversion of the Macao Health Code and Guangdong Health Code on the holders’ smartphones.
Lo also said that the local government planned to add one more NAT testing station to meet the rising needs for COVID-19 testing, possibly at the Macao Forum complex in Zape.
Meanwhile, Lo said that the Health Bureau will arrange for casinos workers – including dealers, cage workers and security guards – to undergo one-off nucleic acid tests in phases.
No local COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Macao for 107 days. Only one of the 46 COVID-19 patients is still in hospital.