Addressing Wednesday’s daily press conference about the local government’s ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, said that a local woman who had been to Spain were taken to the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane on Tuesday for quarantine, after seeking treatment for a fever, while her husband was also transferred to the centre in Coloane because of his “close contact” situation.
According to Lo, the couple have been classified as having a “high risk” of being infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The couple’s first COVID-19 test came out negative. Both will undergo a second test 48 hours after the first test.
Lo made the remarks on Wednesday evening at the bureau adjacent to the public hospital.
According to Lo, the woman left Macau on February 28 for a trip to Spain before returning to Macau via Germany on March 4. The woman came down with a fever and cough on Tuesday and went to the public hospital’s emergency department to seek treatment. The woman underwent her first COVID-19 test on Tuesday. She tested negative for the novel coronavirus, Lo said.
Lo said that her husband, who had not left Macau, had had a fever for three days. Consequently, in addition to the woman, her husband was also taken to the quarantine facility in Coloane on Tuesday, Lo said. The man also tested negative in his first COVID-19 test.
Lo said that the couple would undergo another COVID-19 test 48 hours after their first test. Lo did not say whether the couple would have to stay under quarantine in the Public Health Clinical Centre for 14 days. Lo merely said that if the couple test negative in the second test, they could be confirmed as “safe”, apart from the fact that they were free from fever on Wednesday.
According to Lo, apart from the couple, 60 people are currently staying under medical surveillance in the Public Health Clinical Centre, comprising the 57 Macau residents who were evacuated from Hubei province on Saturday and the three local COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from hospital.
The 57 Macau residents were immediately taken to the Public Health Clinical Centre for 14-day quarantine after a charter plane airlifting them from Hubei arrived at the local airport on Saturday evening. Lo said on Wednesday that none of the 57 Macau residents has come down with a fever or any respiratory symptoms so far.
Lo noted that Macau has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 36 consecutive days. Macau’s last two COVID-19 cases, the 9th and 10th cases, were confirmed on February 4. All of the 10 COVID-19 patients – seven tourists from Wuhan and three locals – have been discharged from hospital.
While the seven COVID-19 patients from Wuhan returned to the mainland immediately after they had been discharged from hospital, the three local COVID-19 patients were immediately transferred to the Public Health Clinical Centre for 14-day medical surveillance after they had been discharged from hospital. The three locals were discharged from hospital on February 27, March 3 and March 6 respectively. The local government has said that the 14-day medical surveillance period is needed to reduce the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus in the community considering that a number of cases have been reported on the mainland where COVID-19 patients who had been discharged as cured from hospital later tested positive for the disease again.
In addition to the 14-day medical surveillance, the three locals will have to undergo a 14-day “self-health management” at home after completing the 14-day medical surveillance at the quarantine facility in Coloane.
Lo said on Wednesday that Macau’s 10th COVID-19 patient – the first local discharged patient – will complete his 14-day medical surveillance at the Public Health Clinical Centre today and then start his 14-day “self-health management” in his home. Lo described the conditions of the three discharged local patients staying at the Public Health Clinical Centre as “good”.
According to Lo, the recovered patients undergoing the 14-day “self-health management” at home are advised to avoid going out unless necessary.
Lo said that according to the Health Bureau’s guidelines on the 14-day “self-health management”, the recovered patients are advised not to share a bedroom. The recovered patients should also wear a mask even at home, and always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from their family members, Lo said. The recovered patients should not have meals with their family members either.
According to Lo, the recovered patients will have to check their temperature at least twice a day. Health Bureau officials will call the recovered patients every day to check up on their health status, Lo said, adding that the recovered patients must wear a facemask if they need to go out.
Since midday on Tuesday, all those who have been to Germany, France, Spain or Japan within the past 14 days prior to their entry into Macau have to stay under medical surveillance for 14 days.
Late last month, identical quarantine measures were imposed by the Health Bureau on arrivals from South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Non-Macau residents – visitors and non-resident workers – have to go into the 14-day quarantine at government-designated hotel – Pousada Marina Infante in Cotai – at their own expense, while local residents can choose to go into the 14-day quarantine either in their home or at the hotel, depending on whether their flat can meet certain requirements, such as whether they need to share a bedroom.
Couple from Egypt
Meanwhile, SSM Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said during Wednesday’s press conference – which started at 5 p.m. – that two local residents – a couple – who have been to Egypt would later be taken to the Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane for 14-day quarantine. According to Leong, the two locals – a 64-year-old man and his 60-year-old wife – were travelling on the same flight from Hong Kong to Egypt and the same return flight as a Hong Kong resident who has been confirmed by the Hong Kong authorities as having been infected with the novel coronavirus. Leong said that therefore the two Macau residents have been classified as having been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and therefore need to be quarantined at the centre.
According to Leong, the two Macau residents went to Egypt for a trip between February 27 and March 7. On the return flight to Hong Kong, the two Macau residents were sitting three rows behind the Hong Kong-confirmed patient. The two Macau residents came down with a mild fever and other respiratory symptoms after returning to Macau, and they still had a mild fever at the time of Wednesday’s press conference.
Both tested negative twice to COVID-19, according to Leong.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © Government Information Bureau (GCS)