The Macau government said in a statement on Thursday it is keeping in close contact with the national authorities responsible for public health and disease control on the latest developments, particularly quarantine methods and appropriate treatment, relating to the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.
According to the statement released by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS), the government received a notice from the National Health Commission on Thursday explaining that preliminary investigations had identified the pathogen involved in the Wuhan outbreak as a newly-categorised coronavirus.
Macau’s Inter-departmental Taskforce on Pneumonia of Unknown Cause – a name it was given by the government before this week’s preliminary identification of the respective pathogen – is coordinating the local response to the Wuhan outbreak, the statement pointed out.
The measures currently being taken in Macau are considered sufficient by the government to prevent and, if necessary, control the spread of the now identified coronavirus. The taskforce will continue to evaluate the risk this newly-categorised virus poses to Macau, the statement said, and it also “will review response strategies in a timely manner should relevant new information be obtained.”
In addition, the statement said stocks – for up to three months use -regarding medical supplies such as masks, hazardous material suits, and disinfection agents. “There are also adequate facilities for keeping in isolation anyone thought to have been infected by that virus, and for treating them if necessary,” the statement said.
“Members of the public have no cause for alarm regarding the Wuhan outbreak,” the statement said. “Nonetheless, a heightened level of awareness should be displayed by members of the public and greater attention given to the maintenance of personal and environmental hygiene,” it added.
As of Wednesday there was no report of any case of illness in Macau being linked to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. In addition, the authorities have found no sign – via body-temperature screening imposed at all boundary crossing checkpoints – of anyone with a combination of fever and a declaration that they had stayed recently in Wuhan, the statement pointed out.
According to the statement, between 5 p.m. on Tuesday and 5 p.m. on Wednesday there were no reports of any Macau people returning from recent trips to Wuhan and simultaneously complaining of illness.
Between January 1 and Wednesday, the government was informed by local medical institutions about a total of eight illness cases, each involving a patient with fever and respiratory problems, and who had been in Wuhan in the previous 14 days. One of the eight patients, a 44-year-old female – previously kept in isolation in hospital – has recovered and been released from hospital. Her fever diminished over a period of 72 hours and tests showed she did not have pneumonia, the statement said.
Temperature screening has been introduced at all Macau border checkpoints, including the airport, land crossings, and ferry terminals. The monitoring equipment at each checkpoint is able to measure the respective body temperature of each arriving traveller without them needing to pause to be processed, the statement underlined.
Macau has in place a Level III alert in response to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. The alert level means the risk of public emergency is “moderate”, indicating public health factors – of either environmental or technological origin – requiring firm follow-up action by the local authorities, the statement pointed out.
The government has urged Macau residents working, studying or living in Wuhan to remain vigilant and to:
Any questions from the public on the issue while in Macau should be directed to the Health Bureau at 2870 0800. Alternatively, the public can visit the bureau’s website: www. ssm. gov, mo/csr for further information.