Further measures for disease control within Macao community

Press conference of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.

The Government announced on Sunday (26 January) a fresh round of control measures within the community following the instance in Macao of a newly-identified coronavirus.

With effect from the stroke of midnight on Monday (27 January), visitors from Hubei Province – and visitors that have been to Hubei Province within the previous 14 days – would be denied permission to enter Macao unless they present a valid certificate confirming they were free of infection from the novel coronavirus.

Such a certificate should be issued by medical authorities recognised by Macao. The Health Bureau would, if it required, verify such certification with the appropriate institutions.

The measure was one of a number announced on Sunday during a press conference held by the Government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre. The Secretary for Administration and Justice, Mr Cheong Weng Chon, and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ms Ao Ieong U, were among those attending the press conference.

The briefing heard in addition that the Chief Executive would issue an Executive Order banning from Macao casino premises anyone who had been to Hubei Province within 14 days of their arrival in Macao.

Such an Executive Order was in accordance with the Chief Executive’s power as vested by the Basic Law, and the Law on the Prevention, Control and Treatment of Infectious Diseases.

Meanwhile, the Government would contact individually – as of 9am on Monday – those 1,113 tourists visiting from Hubei Province who were still in Macao. Some 700 from that aggregate would be reached via the hotels at which they were staying. They would be tested for infection and if given the all-clear, offered the option of either leaving Macao or relocating – either to Pousada de Juventude de Hac-Sa or a training facility managed by the Municipal Affairs Bureau.

With effect from 4pm on Sunday, the self-service immigration clearance service system had been suspended for non-Macao residents at all checkpoints. All tourists had to use manned channels. Also, there were specific immigration clearance channels for people from Hubei Province.

The Government advised Macao residents studying in Wuhan, and Macao residents travelling on the mainland, to observe a 14-day period of isolation at home upon returning to Macao.

The Health Bureau noted it had a set of guidelines regarding the use of protective gear for medical professionals, in order properly to safeguard their health. Additionally, Macao had sufficient reserve stocks – for up to three months of use – of medical supplies such as masks, and hazmat (hazardous materials) suits.

Macao today confirmed three more cases of infection regarding the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of such infection cases in Macao – all imported – to five.

The third instance involved a 57-year-old female visiting from Wuhan. She had originally taken a train from the mainland to Hong Kong on 20 January. She had then arrived in Macao on 22 January via the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, then stayed at a hotel at Sands Cotai Central. On 23 January, she took a taxi to Kiang Wu Hospital seeking medical treatment. Later that day, the patient was transferred to Conde S. Januário Hospital and subsequently tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Scans indicated she was free from any signs of pneumonia. So far, she had neither fever nor respiratory problems, and was in an isolation ward at Conde S. Januário Hospital.

The fourth case concerned a 39-year-old female visiting from Wuhan. The patient entered Macao on 22 January from the Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint. She had stayed initially at the Venetian Macao Hotel and moved to the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Sands Cotal Central, on 25 January. She had shown signs of a moderate fever and cough and had been transported to Conde S. Januário Hospital. She had twice tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Scans had indicated that initially she had signs of pneumonia.

The fifth case involved a 21-year-old female visiting from Wuhan. She entered Macao on 23 January from the Lotus Flower Bridge Checkpoint and stayed at the Galaxy Hotel at Galaxy Macau. She had subsequently been transported to Conde S. Januário Hospital after developing a fever on 25 January. According to the most recent update, she had no respiratory problems. She had nonetheless tested positive for the novel coronavirus and scans indicated she was free from any signs of pneumonia. She was in a stable condition.

The initial two patients in Macao confirmed to have been infected by the novel coronavirus were still being treated in medical isolation at the Conde S. Januário Hospital.

At present, a total of 10 people had been identified as having had close contact with one or other of the initial two patients confirmed as infected. A further seven people (five males and two females) were undergoing secondary testing for signs of infection by the disease.

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