Two non-resident workers, a 33-year-old female staff of a hotel clubhouse and a 44-year-old male casino worker, have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in the neighbouring city of Zhuhai, the Macau government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre revealed during its daily press conference about the virus threat on Saturday.
According to the press conference, which was attended by senior officials from a wide range of government entities, the woman came down with the highly infectious disease after visiting Hubei province last month. The woman initially sought medical treatment in Macau but was only diagnosed with the disease in Zhuhai where she came down with a fever later. The man came down with the disease in Zhuhai after visiting Wuhan, the officials said, Both have been hospitalised in Zhuhai.
Meanwhile, according to official information received by The Macau Post Daily from Zhuhai the number of confirmed cases in Zhuhai rose by four to 38 on Saturday.
Hubei has reported the highest number of novel coronavirus cases of any province and autonomous region in mainland China. Wuhan, its capital, is the epicentre of the outbreak.
Macau has confirmed seven cases, all of them tourists from Wuhan. The local Health Bureau (SSM) hasn’t confirmed a new case since Tuesday. According to Saturday’s press conference, they are in stable condition at the isolation ward of the public Conde de S. Januario Hospital Centre.
The officials acknowledged that there was a “high risk” for a community outbreak of the disease in Macau. They also urged all Macau residents who visited Hubei after January 17 to contact the Macau Health Bureau (SSM) for follow-up action. The officials also admitted that casinos potentially posed a novel coronavirus infection risk, a risk that they were reassessing on a daily basis.
Macau’s over three dozen casinos have stayed open 24/7 despite the deterioration of the virus situation on the Chinese mainland. The government has said it would not rule out to close the city’s casino if the situation warrants it. Macau’s cinemas and concert halls closed last month.
This afternoon’s press conference also revealed that 19 persons who had been in close contact with locally confirmed cases are still being held at a quarantine facility in Coloane.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the officials also announced that residents and non-resident workers will from now on have to show their original ID cards or work permits (“blue cards”) when buying facemasks at fixed prices from designated pharmacies and other outlets such as public health centres, 90 in total, from tomorrow. The restriction was imposed by the government after the authorities discovered that some people bought facemasks by presenting furtively arranged copies of other people’s ID documents. Previously, copies of the documents sufficed to buy 10 facemask for 8 patacas every 10 days. The second round of the sales of the facemasks at fixed prices starts tomorrow.
However, residents and tourists also can buy facemasks from non-designated pharmacies (i.e. those that do not sell prescription drugs on behalf of the Health Bureau) and other shops at market prices. Unlike in Hong Kong, there has been no chaos outside pharmacies in Macau, aside from occasional queues of several dozen buyers.
According to the press conference, the Health Bureau earlier on Saturday held a working meeting with representatives of the city’s public and private hospitals to reinforce cooperation in the fight against the Wuhan virus menace.