The Macau government started on Saturday its fourth round of selling facemasks to residents and non-resident workers at the fixed price of 8 patacas (US$1) for 10 masks.
Macau had a population of 676,100 at the end of September last year, according to the latest available official statistics.
Addressing the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre’s daily press conference about the viral threat on Friday, Health Bureau officials said the supply of facemasks was “sufficient”.
Each purchase round lasted 10 days. A total of 5.7 million facemasks – including 100,000 for children aged between three and eight – were sold in the third round which ended on Friday. More than 15 million facemasks have been sold so far. The purchase programme was launched by the government on January 23.
Under the programme, each resident and non-resident worker is entitled to buy 10 facemasks at the fixed price of 8 patacas every 10 days. The masks are sold at public health centres, designated pharmacies and a number of community association venues.
The public can also buy facemasks at market prices from other outlets. Local business people and companies have donated hundreds of thousands of facemasks to the government, which said late last month it intended to buy 20 million facemasks. Observers have noted that more than 90 percent of pedestrians are wearing facemasks.
Macau’s last two COVID-19 cases were confirmed on February 4, putting the total at 10. Six of the 10 patients – seven tourists from Wuhan and three locals – have meanwhile been discharged and returned to the mainland.
Macau’s 39 casinos in operation when the government ordered a 15-day shutdown on February 4 have reopened for business on Thursday. However, other entertainment businesses such as bars, discotheques, nightclubs, snooker halls and massage parlours remain closed.
Government officials say that the number of visitor arrivals and hotel guests has fallen around 90 percent since the Chinese New Year late last month due to the novel coronavirus threat.
Meanwhile, three of five local residents who had been stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokohama returned to Macau this Saturday morning, local media reported. The trio, who arrived via Hong Kong aboard a plane chartered by the Hong Kong government, were immediately taken upon arrival in Macau to a quarantine facility in Coloane where they are required to stay 14 days. Two other local residents from the cruise ship chose to remain in Hong Kong as they hold both Macau and Hong Kong ID cards.