Addressing Monday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said that the fact that a number of new local COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Guangdong last week will not affect next week’s resumption of the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) and group tours permits for Guangdong residents to travel to Macao, provided that the COVID-19 epidemic in the province does not have a major change in the near future.
The Guangdong Health Commission announced on Friday that a woman in the city of Lufeng had been confirmed as a COVID-19 patient after returning there from Shenzhen. The woman, who worked at a supermarket in Shenzhen, returned home by bus on 6 August. Three family members of the woman and two staff members at the supermarket tested positive for COVID-19, all classified as asymptomatic cases, according to the provincial health commission.
According to Xinhua, asymptomatic cases refer to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat, yet they are infectious and pose a risk of spreading to others.
Unlike Macao, where all those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are classified as confirmed COVID-19 patients – regardless of whether they have come down with COVID-19 symptoms – the mainland health authorities separately classify asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Guangdong had not confirmed a new local COVID-19 case for over three months before the new confirmed COVID-19 case in Lufeng, a county-level city administered by the eastern city of Shanwei.
The central government announced last week that the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme and group tours permits for Guangdong residents to travel to Macao will resume on Wednesday next week, while the resumption will be extended to all mainlanders on 23 September. The issuing of the travel permits for Zhuhai residents resumed on Wednesday last week.
During Monday’s press conference, reporters asked whether Macao will implement additional COVID-19 measures for arrivals from Shenzhen and Shanwei and whether the several new local COVID-19 cases in the province will affect next week’s resumption of the issuing of the travel permits for Guangdong residents. Leong said that the Macao government has been aware of the several new local cases in Shenzhen and Shanwei, adding that the health authorities in the two cities quickly activated their respective COVID-19 emergency response mechanism.
‘Effective’ measures in Shenzhen & Shanwei
Leong said that the Shenzhen and Shanwei health authorities have been carrying out effective COVID-19 prevention and control measures, such as carrying out an epidemiological investigation to trace those who had been in touch with the confirmed COVID-19 patient, massive nucleic acid testing (NAT) for residents, and cleaning and disinfection of venues where the confirmed COVID-19 patient and her contacts had been.
Leong said that no additional COVID-19 cases have been detected following the two cities’ large-scale nucleic acid testing, adding that the Macao government believes that the COVID-19 epidemic in the province has been brought under control following the health authorities’ quick response.
Leong pledged that the Macao government will continue to pay close attention to the latest development of Guangdong’s COVID-19 epidemic, and adjust its COVID-19 prevention and control measures for arrivals from Guangdong if necessary.
Leong said that if there is not a major change in Guangdong’s COVID-19 situation, the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme and group tours permits for Guangdong residents to travel to Macao will resume as scheduled.
When asked how the Macao government will tackle the possible situation in which some visitors from the mainland would not wear a facemask during their visit to Macao, Leong said that in Macao all those who take public transport or enter restaurants or other indoor venues are officially required to wear a facemask, adding that it believes that visitors will comply with Macao’s COVID-19 prevention measures.
Leong also said that local residents’ perseverance in maintaining their COVID-19 measures, such as wearing a facemask, washing their hands regularly and sticking to social distancing, will positively affect visitors in their acts in sticking to COVID-19 measures.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG)