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 local government’s current COVID-19 testing capability of its nucleic acid testing (NAT) scheme will be able to meet the increasing demand for the tests resulting from the new quarantine waiver granted to all Macao non-resident workers living in Zhuhai, which started on Monday, as well as from the possible gradual lifting of the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures between Macao and other regions in the future.
Since Monday, all locally-employed non-resident workers living in Zhuhai are now exempted from the current 14-day quarantine imposed on non-resident workers from the mainland. The non-resident workers must obtain an official confirmation from the Zhuhai authorities that they have their habitual residence there so that they can benefit from the new quarantine waiver.
The 14-day quarantine requirement imposed on mainland non-resident workers was first eased by the Zhuhai and Macao governments on May 11. Since then non-resident workers holding a Zhuhai ID card or residence permit have been exempted from the quarantine measure so that they can commute between the two cities.
During Monday’s press conference, Leong pointed out that the local government can test up to 6,000 people per day in its NAT programme. Leong said that some 7,000 people underwent the test over the past three days – from Friday to Sunday. Leong said this showed that the NAT scheme is able to test many more people per day than the average number of people that it currently tests per day.
The programme’s testing station at the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On opens daily between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Health Bureau has commissioned a third-party testing institution – Kuok Kim (Macau) Hygiene Examination Company Limited – to carry out its NAT scheme, which was launched on May 7.
Leong said that with the possible gradual relaxation of the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures between Macao and other regions in the future, the local government expected a rising need for the tests, pledging that it will continue to improve its sampling and testing procedures for its NAT scheme with the aim of further enhancing its COVID-19 testing capability.
No case in 75 days
Meanwhile, Leong also pointed out that Macao has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 75 consecutive days. All of Macao’s 45 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital.