The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has been keeping in close contact with the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China regarding the latest developments concerning a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
As of Monday (6 January) there was no report of any case of illness in Macao being linked to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak.
Macao has taken multiple steps to optimise local preparedness regarding response to the viral outbreak. The steps include: a uniform level of training – in relation to control of infectious disease and procedures of handling suspicious cases – for medical professionals; and ensuring there is sufficient reserve supply of medication, medical consumables, and equipment, as well as adequate facilities to accommodate related work.
During 5pm on Sunday (5 January) to Monday 5pm, the Government received reports of three people that had presented themselves for treatment during the period, complaining of fever and cough. The three patients – ranging in age from 19 to 22 – were two males and one female. They reported had been to Wuhan within the previous 14 days. After in-depth examination, they were diagnosed with seasonal influenza, and it was confirmed they had no symptoms of pneumonia.
In the period from 1 January to Monday (6 January) inclusive, the Government had been informed by local medical institutions about a total of eight illness cases, each involving a patient with fever and respiratory problems, and that had been in Wuhan in the previous 14 days. Only one of those eight patients – a 44-year-old female – was still as of Monday being held in isolation in hospital. The other seven patients had been diagnosed as having either influenza or a cold.
According the most recent information, preliminary investigation indicated the Wuhan viral pneumonia cases neither showed – nor currently show – any evidence of capability to effect human-to-human transmission. Preliminary investigation had ruled out the following as causes for the outbreak: seasonal influenza, avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The Government noted that work to identify the pathogen involved in the Wuhan outbreak – and to trace its cause – was ongoing.
Macao has in place a Level III alert in response to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. The alert level meant the risk of public emergency was at moderate level; indicating public health factors – of either environmental or technological origin – requiring firm follow-up action by the local authorities.
Members of the public had no cause for alarm regarding the Wuhan outbreak. Nonetheless, a heightened level of awareness should be displayed by members of the public and greater attention given to the maintenance of personal and environmental hygiene.
In addition, the Government had taken several measures to minimise the risk of such cases having any impact on Macao. They included: all transport passengers travelling from Wuhan to Macao being required to undergo on arrival temperature screening and to complete a health declaration form; and drivers arriving in Macao via either the Border Gate Checkpoint, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Zhuhai-Macao Crossborder Industrial Zone Checkpoint, or the Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint, being required to undergo body-temperature screening.
An increasing number of Macao casinos had installed temperature-monitoring equipment at venue entrances of their properties, in order to detect whether either any employees or any patrons might have fever. Meanwhile, the Government would remain in close contact with the gaming sector, including disseminating the latest guidelines related to the viral outbreak.
The Government issues a reminder to Macao residents either working, studying or living in Wuhan, to remain vigilant and to:
- pay greater attention to the maintenance of personal, environmental and food hygiene;
- avoid contact with people who have fever or symptoms related to respiratory diseases;
- avoid visiting hospitals in Wuhan and people infected with the virus;
- avoid contact with poultry and animals;
- wear masks when necessary;
- after returning to Macao, should respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough develop after travel, seek medical treatment immediately and report details of the travel history;
- pay close attention to the latest news issued by the Macao SAR Government regarding the Wuhan viral pneumonia outbreak and take heed of the suggested preventive measures.
Any questions from the public on this topic while they are in Macao should be directed to the Health Bureau on +853 2870 0800. Alternatively, the public can visit the Bureau’s website: www.ssm.gov.mo/csr to seek further information.