The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) is keeping in close contact with the national authorities responsible for health and disease control, on the latest developments – particularly quarantine methods and appropriate treatment – relating to the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
The SAR Government today received a notice from the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China explaining that preliminary investigations had identified the pathogen involved in the Wuhan outbreak as a newly-categorised coronavirus.
The SAR Government has formed a body called the Inter-departmental Taskforce on Pneumonia of Unknown Cause, in order to manage the local response to the Wuhan outbreak.
The measures currently being taken in Macao are considered sufficient either to prevent or if necessary control the spread of the identified coronavirus. The Taskforce will continue to evaluate the risk this newly-categorised virus poses to Macao, and will review response strategies in a timely manner should relevant new information be obtained.
In addition, Macao has sufficient reserve stocks – for up to three months of use –regarding medical supplies such as masks, hazmat (hazardous materials) suits, and disinfection agents. There are also adequate facilities for keeping in isolation anyone thought to have been infected by that virus, and for treating them if necessary.
Members of the public have 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.
As of Wednesday (8 January) there was no report of any case of illness in Macao being linked to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. In addition, the authorities had found no sign – via body-temperature screening imposed at all boundary crossing checkpoints – of anyone with a combination of fever and a declaration that they had stayed recently in Wuhan.
During the period from 5pm on 7 January (Tuesday) to 5pm on 8 January (Wednesday), there were no reports of any Macao people returning from recent trips to Wuhan and simultaneously complaining of illness.
In the period from 1 January to 8 January (Wednesday) inclusive, the Government was 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. One of those eight patients, a 44-year-old female – previously kept in isolation in hospital – has now recovered and has been released from hospital. Her fever diminished over a period of 72 hours and tests showed she did not have pneumonia.
Temperature screening has been introduced at all Macao boundary checkpoints, including the airport, land crossings, and ferry terminals. The monitoring equipment at each checkpoint is able to measure the respective body temperature of each arriving traveller without them needing to pause to be processed.
Macao has in place a Level III alert in response to the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. The alert level means the risk of public emergency is moderate, indicating public health factors – of either environmental or technological origin – requiring firm follow-up action by the local authorities.
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 other animals;
- wear masks when necessary;
- after returning to Macao, seek medical treatment immediately and report details of travel history, if respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough develop after travel;
- 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.